US news networks project that President Barack Obama will win a second term in the White House, defeating Republican contender Mitt Romney after securing several key battleground states.
President Obama secured victory in the key state of Ohio, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to secure a second term in the White House.
Obama is also projected to win the battleground states of Wisconsin, the Midwestern home of Romney's running mate Paul Ryan, and Iowa. The president also looks set to win the mid-Atlantic state of Pennsylvania and the northeastern state of New Hampshire.
Republican contender Romney, meanwhile, began his predictable victory march through the staunchly conservative states of the American south. The former Massachusetts governor and venture capitalist also advanced through the plains states north into the Dakotas and parts of the mountain west.
Romney is also projected to win Indiana, a traditionally right-of-center state where Obama had a surprise victory in 2008 against Senator John McCain. The governor is also set to win the southern state of North Carolina, which also bucked historical trends and went for Obama last time around.
Election still a tossup
According to the networks ABC and NBC, Governor Romney currently has 50 percent of the popular vote and at least 203 electoral votes. President Obama stands at 48 percent in the popular vote, and has at least 243 electoral votes.
The presidential election is likely to be decided in a handful of remaining battleground states, including in the western states of Colorado and Nevada; the Midwestern state of Ohio; and the southern states of Florida and Virginia.
The US president is elected not by the popular vote, but instead by an electoral college. The candidate who wins the popular vote in a state typically also wins all of its electoral votes. In order to make it to the White House, a candidate must secure 270 out of 538 electoral votes.
Meanwhile, broadcasters CBS, CNN and Fox News have projected that the Republicans will retain control of the US House of Representatives.
slk/dr (AP, AFP, Reuters)