US presidential election: Obama edges ahead in last push for victory

Polls put Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, neck and neck in the race for the White House. Picture: Getty

Polls put Barack Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, neck and neck in the race for the White House. Picture: Getty

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BARACK Obama and Mitt Romney were neck-and-neck last night as one of the closest races for the White House in American history entered its final hours.

With the latest polls showing the two presidential candidates with 49% of the vote each, Obama and Romney put on a last-minute sprint around key swing states.

The last few days have been good for Obama, with widespread praise for his calm 
handling of super-storm Sandy and a better-than-expected jobs report on Friday which showed 171,000 new jobs were created in the US in September.

But Romney has continued to push hard on his campaign theme that only he can put the US economy back on track, claiming that recent unemployment figures “are not what a real recovery looks like”.

The outcome of this election will be decided in a handful of battleground states. They include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.

But while the candidates are tied in the national polls, state polls show Obama with a slight lead in key battlegrounds, raising the prospect of Obama winning the 270 electoral college votes required to win the election and losing the popular vote. This has only happened once in the last century, when George W Bush won the presidency in 2000.

Both campaigns are adamant that there is still everything to play for.

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