The results are in: On Tuesday, November 6, Barack Obama was reelected President of the United States. At Obama campaign headquarters, in Chicago, Illinois, cheers erupted from the crowd as the news was announced. Then, early Wednesday morning, Obama addressed his supporters and the nation. "Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up. We have fought our way back," he said. "We know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come."
Minutes earlier, in Boston, Massachusetts, Republican candidate Mitt Romney had given a short concession speech to a room packed with supporters. "I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction," he said. "But the nation chose another leader."
It was a hard-fought race, with the popular vote practically split down the middle. Obama got 60,664,801 votes, for 50% of the total count. Romney received 57,823,653, for 48%. However, Obama won big in the electoral-vote tally. Of the 538 electoral votes at stake in the election, 270 were needed to win. As of November 8, Obama had captured 303 of them, while Romney had racked up 206.
A Fight to the Finish
In states where citizens have largely voted Democratic or Republican in the past, it's possible to predict which candidate voters will likely pick. But "swing" states are different. In these states, the outcome is too close to predict, and voters can easily swing, or turn, toward either candidate. Throughout the campaign, both Obama and Romney spent plenty of time and money in these states, hoping to persuade voters to choose them for the presidency. Winning these states is critical to a candidate's success. Ohio, for example, was a prize that both men badly wanted. Late on election night, Ohio's 18 electoral votes went to Obama. To Romney supporters, it was a signal that the chance of a Republican triumph had slipped away.
President Obama faces tough challenges. The economy tops the list. New reports show that while the percentage of Americans who are unemployed has dropped slightly, more than 12 million remain jobless. In his victory speech, Obama promised that he and his team will continue their efforts to help all Americans. "Tonight, despite all the hardship we've been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I've never been more hopeful about our future," he said. "I have never been more hopeful about America."
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