US: Early clues expected on winner

2012-11-05 22:31

Washington - The close election battle between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney might take a while to resolve, but Americans following the returns could see clues to the ultimate winner emerge early on Tuesday night.

One of the most crucial battlegrounds, Virginia, is among the first states to end its voting at 19:00 (00:00 GMT) on Tuesday. The most vital prize of all, Ohio, closes its balloting shortly afterward.

Opinion polls show the race is tight in both states, and a winner might not be determined for many hours. But a stronger-than-expected showing by either candidate would be an early sign of which way the political winds are blowing.

"I wouldn't expect Ohio or Virginia to be called early, but if it starts to look clear one way or another that would be an early harbinger," said political scientist Steven Schier of Carleton College in Minnesota.

When Obama won Virginia in 2008, his victory margin there mirrored his 7-point win in the national race. Ohio is a traditional bellwether that is critical to Romney's hopes of reaching the 270 electoral votes he needs to capture the White House.

The Obama campaign will be evaluating turnout in selected precincts nationwide as the voting unfolds on Tuesday, but will look hard at the first actual vote totals from Ohio and Virginia, adviser David Axelrod said.

"We'll be focused on some of those Ohio precincts," Axelrod said on Fox News Sunday, as well as on the early Virginia results. "If those start breaking our way it could be an earlier evening than people anticipated."

Romney's political director, Rich Beeson, said the campaign also will be looking for trends in the early numbers from the sprawling suburbs of northern Virginia and the heavily Democratic areas of northeastern Ohio.


They also will be watching the early results in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, which are in the next wave of poll closings at 20:00 (01:00 GMT). New Hampshire is another swing state where polls show a tight race, and Romney has made a late bid to put Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania in play.

Beeson predicted a Romney win and said, "People won't have to look very long to know that."

The returns from New Hampshire, the smallest of the swing states, could be tabulated relatively quickly and provide the first swing state result. Florida, a must-win for Romney, also closes at 20:00.

The closeness of the national polls has resurrected memories of the disputed 2000 election between Republican George W Bush and Democrat Al Gore, which featured mistaken media predictions in Florida and a month of recounts and court battles.

Those memories could slow down the network projections of who will win individual swing states on Tuesday.

"There won't be a race to call states quickly. The networks are going to be very careful this time," Schier said.

  • bheki.shabangu.10 - 2012-11-06 03:11

    Barack Obama 4 president. - 2012-11-06 05:36

      I hope this is a genuinely thought out comment and not simply one based on race. - 2012-11-06 08:07


  • richard.lemmer1 - 2012-11-06 03:15

    Obama has causer irreverseable damage tonthe US economy ! If they have him for 4 more years they better buy some more Zerox machines to print money !

      marni.van.emmenis - 2012-11-06 08:15

      Are you one of those kids left behind by GWB, because your spelling is atrocious and your statement full of holes. If you want to blame Obama for the US's financial woes, you'll have to blame Cameron for the riots in London last year, Merkel for the increase in violence in Greece and Zuma for the violence at Marikana - there are certain events that are happening globally that you can't blame on a specific world leader. If any president of the US should be blamed for their economic fall, it should be Bush seeing as his policies and those of his party cause the major shortfall of funds and decided which companies to bail out... Stop watching FOX NEWS and think for yourself.

      whatda.fuqbro - 2012-11-06 09:13

      I've got to laugh when people blame the 2008 housing bubble and its after-effects on Obama.

  • fred.schoeman - 2012-11-06 06:48

    It is critically important that Obama wins this election. The Republicans have shown a predilection for plunging the world in war and conflict. They also care less for the "47%" and will cut taxes for the rich, thereby widening the gap between rich and poor. Obama and the Democrats are more inclined to care for the unfortunate and are more sensitive to the rights of minorities (unlike the ANC, for example).

      joe.fiala.31 - 2012-11-06 07:58

      Republicans favouring war? Check your American history and don't fall into the trap of stereotypes - Wilson that led the USA into WWI, FDR led the USA into WWII, Truman led the USA into the Korean War, and LBJ that led the USA into Vietnam (all Democrats). Additionally, all those wars were fought with huge losses of drafted American Soldiers lives. It was the Republicans that led them out of and won the wars the Democrats put them into and also ended the draft. The two Bushes won both of their wars with almost no human lossses in comparison. As for the 47% - Romney said 47% of the people leech off the Government. Surely that's not a good thing? That's money which could be better spent elsewhere. It's amazing how people who are too lazy to work hard and expect government hand outs pounced on this comment. Here's a tip - if you want to make it in the real world, expect to work hard and not be lazy. If anything, Romney would want to stimulate growth so that that 47% can learn to support themselves to a large degree. "Democrats more inclined to care for the unfortunate" - you're just buying into stereotypes again. The Republicans would obviously wish to do that, otherwise it would be political suicide. But there is a big difference between helping the unfortunate and people who leech off government.

      cilliers.vanniekerk.1 - 2012-11-06 08:43

      Great, informed comment, Joe. I might add: To extend welfare by ballooning the deficit and taxing business to a standstill, as Obama proposes to do (a lot more of) just amounts to stealing from your children, with no return except Kenneth Kaunda's: "We [in Africa] may be poor, but we are all poor together"! Go Romney!

      fred.schoeman - 2012-11-06 12:46

      Thank you for your comments, Joe. I was actually referring to more recent history and George Bush's invasion of Iraq and worries about the Republicans' stance on Iran. I don't think Obama would be as much inclined to nuke Iran as Romney would be. You are also stereotyping poor people by inferring that all poor people are lazy. Being rich is not just a matter of hard work. It is also about ability and talents you are born with - and some people are just not as fortunate in this area as are some others. Some people just need some more help and a leg-up than Republicans are seemingly prepared to give them. Of course there are people who leech off the government, but that is not a reason not to care for the poor.

  • richard.lemmer1 - 2012-11-06 10:29

    Marni , one quick question . Where would I be able to watch Fox news ? I do not need to be brainwashed by newschannels to make an informed decision. The spelling is due to a quick reponse on my Ipad. But you probably need pictures o understand anyway .....

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