Welcome back to the FT’s live coverage of the US election in which voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. As polls are closing across the country, we’re also tracking key Congressional races.
Follow all the action with Arash Massoudi, Anjli Raval and Shannon Bond in New York (All times EST)
23.00: Continue to follow our election live blog here.
22.56: The AP has called North Carolina, with 15 electoral votes, for Mr Romney. That puts his total at 186, against Mr Obama’s 148.
22.54: From Getty Images, a few photos of Americans around the country watching the votes add up.
22.43: Another update from Robin Harding on the North Dakota Senate race (see 22.30).
“With 46 per cent of precincts reporting, it has flipped to 51 per cent for Berg, the Republican, to 49 per cent for Heitkamp, the Democrat.”
22.40: The AP has called Arizona, with 11 electoral votes, for Mr Romney. That gives the Republican a total of 171 to Mr Obama’s 148.
22.38: Pundits have been debating all week what effect Hurricane Sandy might have on today’s polls. Will the superstorm that struck the east coast last week go down as this year’s “October surprise”?
Tonight The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg points out some backlash against Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, for his embrace of Mr Obama over the past week:
@JeffreyGoldberg: The Romney supporters in my twitter feed are expressing rage at @GovChristie right now.
22.30: Back to the Senate, where Democrats are looking to retain their narrow margin of control, Robin Harding notes:
“It looks desperately close in the North Dakota Senate race where Democrat Heidi Heitkamp leads by 50.8 per cent to 49.2 per cent over Republican Rick Berg, with 34 per cent of the vote counted.”
22.27: The polls are extremely tight in Florida, and a win there could set Mr Obama up for victory. In Ohio, Barney Jopson reports the spotlight on the state may be fading:
@barneyjopson: After day of being welcomed by Ohioans to the centre of the political universe, that sense now vanishing rapidly in Columbus
22.21: Jamie Chisholm, the FT’s global markets commentator, is the earliest of the early birds, sending us this update on US stock futures from pre-dawn London:
“S&P 500 futures drop to session low, down 13 points, as early calls point to an Obama win. Suggests Tuesday’s similar size rally was on the back of an expected Romney victory?”
22.16: Track all the states as they come in with this nifty FT graphic by Johanna Kassel and Ben Freese.
22.12: The AP has called the heated Massachusetts Senate race for Democrat Elizabeth Warren over incumbent Republican Scott Brown.
Shahien Nasiripour, in the FT’s DC bureau, says the victory is significant for Ms Warren as she prepares to fill Ted Kennedy’s former seat:
“Elizabeth Warren dreamt up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and fought to get it enacted into law, earning her the enmity of bankers across the US for her fiery rhetoric and allegedly anti-bank initiatives.
The former academic and US bailout watchdog launched a campaign to unseat Mr Brown after she was snubbed by the Obama administration in her quest to become the agency’s first director. That role went to her head of enforcement, Richard Cordray. Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, had opposed her nomination to lead the CFPB.”
22.05: The AP has called another swing state, New Hampshire and its 4 electoral votes for Mr Obama. EVs: 160 to Mr Romney and 148 to Mr Obama.
22.04: The AP has called Utah and its 6 electoral votes for Mr Romney, giving him a total of 160 to 144 for Mr Obama.
22.00: Polls are now closed in Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah.
21.57: Another Senate seat for the Dems. Joe Donnelly has defeated Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Also in the Hoosier state, Vigo County (see 19.04), has tallied all its votes. Mr Obama has edged out Mr Romney, 49.3 per cent to 48.8 per cent.
21.51: The AP has called Pennsylvania and its 20 electoral votes for Mr Obama. The tally now stands at 154 Romney, 144 Obama.
The loss is a particular blow to the Romney campaign, which made a stop in Pittsburgh earlier today in a last ditch effort to win the state.
21.47: More on the Senate races. Anna Fifield, the FT’s White House correspondent, says Republicans have suffered a setback as the Maine seat held by retiring Republican Olympia Snowe has been officially won by Angus King, an independent and former governor of the state who is expected to caucus with Democrats.
Mr King sent an email to supporters after the AP called the result for him:
“We can’t fix this on our own, but we took a big first step tonight…We have a lot to do in the coming days and weeks, and I want to keep you in the loop, and hope I can count on your advice and assistance going forward. The election is over, but as an independent, I am going to need your help when I get to Washington.”
21.40: More signs that the Democrats will hold onto their majority in the Senate as the AP has called two more races.
Sherrod Brown has won the Senate seat in Ohio, beating Republican challenger and Ohio state treasurer Josh Mandel. The Senate race between Mr Brown and Mr Mandel was among the country’s most watched contests (see 20.21).
And in Pennsylvania, Bob Casey has defeated Tom Smith, the Republican challenger.
21.31: Not everything is going in the way of the Democrats tonight, says Robin Harding in DC, as there’s some trouble in Appalachia.
“In the House, Republican Andy Barr has won Kentucky’s 6th district from the Democrat Ben Chandler, after falling a little short in 2010. That suggests two things: that the Appalachian coal vote may be going against the Democrats and that the Republicans will maintain a solid majority in the House.”
21.28: Reacting to some calls that the state of Pennsylvania has gone to Mr Obama, prominent conservative blogger Erick Erickson is not feeling upbeat.
@EWErickson: Been saying PA was fools gold for the GOP, as have many others. At this point, I’m thinking game over.
21.26: President Obama’s chances of reelection are up to 89 per cent on online prediction market Intrade, an improvement of 20.8 per cent on the day, says Jason Abbruzzese, from the FT’s New York bureau.
21.22: Anna Fifield is at the Romney party venue in Boston, and says the atmosphere in the room is muted:
“People are milling around watching the results on big screens and appear nervous. The results trickling out from Florida, Virginia and notably North Carolina are not what they were expecting to see.”
21.18: The AP has called Mississippi and its 6 electoral votes for Mr Romney, bringing his total to 154 to the president’s 124.
Fox, CBS and NBC are calling the swing state of Pennsylvania for Mr Obama, a key hold from 2008 for the president. We await confirmation from the AP.
21.15: Mr Romney leads Mr Obama, 148 electoral votes to 124.
21.12: The results are speeding up. The AP has just made the following calls: Mr Obama wins New York (29), Michigan (16) and New Jersey (14). Mr Romney takes Nebraska (5), Arkansas (6), Wyoming (3), Kansas (6), Louisiana (8), South Dakota (3), Texas (38) and North Dakota* (3). Updated tally to follow.
*Polls are yet to close in North Dakota.
21.04: More on the Connecticut Senate race where Democrat Chris Murphy has already been declared the victor by the AP. Here’s Alan Rappeport, from the FT’s DC bureau, with more on Linda McMahon, the Republican challenger for the seat:
“Ms McMahon invested more than $40m of her personal fortune in her second attempt at winning a Senate seat in the state. In recent weeks Ms McMahon drew criticism for linking herself to President Barack Obama, who is popular in the state, even though she supports Mitt Romney.”
21.00: Polls have now closed in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
20.58: Latest result is in. The AP has called the state of Alabama and its 9 electoral votes for Mr Romney. The race to 270 now has Mr Romney with 76 and Mr Obama at 65.
20.56: Anna Fifield, the FT’s White House correspondent, is in Boston, Massachusetts, where the Romney campaign is gathering to watch the results. She sends along two photos to set the scene:
20.43: And here’s Tom Braithwaite, the FT’s US banking editor, who just happens to be at the Chicago hotel where members of the Obama campaign have gathered before tonight’s election watch party.
@TBraithwaite: If the smugness quotient here at Obama’s hotel in Chicago were a factor, I’d say landslide
20.41: There appears to be growing levels of confidence from the Obama camp, according to Richard McGregor, FT DC bureau chief. He writes from Chicago:
“They say nothing they have seen about turnout or voting patterns has taken them by surprise. Two pieces of data have been especially encouraging. A report by CNN said the Romney campaign’s internal polling on Sunday showed the challenger five points behind in Ohio. Hence, Mr Romney’s last-minute dash to Pennsylvania. A CNN exit poll showing 59 per cent approval for the auto bailout in Ohio also cheered the Obama camp, as they pushed the issue hard in the state.”
20.36: Early indications suggest that the Democrats may retain control of the Senate, but of course things may change as the evening unfolds.
Shahien Nasiripour is back with some analysis on the Senate seat in Montana, where Democrat Jon Tester is seeking re-election and is in a neck-in-neck race against Republican, Denny Rehberg.
“Mr Tester is the chairman of the Senate banking subcommittee that oversees US economic and monetary policy, giving him jurisdiction over the Federal Reserve and other government agencies.
The race has been close since Mr Rehberg announced he would run in 2011. Close to $44m has been spent on this race, most of it by outside groups, making it the most expensive political race in the state’s history.”
20.31: Georgia and its 16 electoral votes will be won by Mr Romney, the AP says. The tally now is 67 to Mr Romney and 65 to Mr Obama.
20.30: Polls in Arkansas are now closed.
20.28: The AP has called the important Connecticut Senate race for Democrat Chris Murphy over Republican Linda McMahon.
20.26: A new result is in: The AP has called Tennessee and its 11 electoral votes for Mr Romney. Updated tally: Obama 65, Romney 51.
20.21: Shahien Nasiripour, the FT’s financial and regulatory correspondent, says while most US election watchers are focusing on the race for the White House, Wall Street is also keeping a close eye on a couple of Senate races.
“Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana, two Democratic members of the Senate banking committee, have been fighting well-funded challengers.
Right now, Mr Brown is leading in early results against Josh Mandel, Ohio treasurer. As chairman of the Senate banking subcommittee overseeing financial institutions and US bank regulators, Mr Brown has been a thorn in the side of the nation’s biggest financial groups.”
20.15: Here’s Barney Jopson with the latest from Columbus, Ohio:
“Jon Husted, the Ohio secretary of state, said 1.8m Ohioans voted early in his first, very brief, briefing. His spokesman, Matt McClellan, said afterwards that Ohio’s 88 county boards of election had been instructed to file the results of early voting to the State House in Columbus by between 7.45pm and 8pm.”
20.12: The race to 270 electoral votes is on. Currently, Mr Obama has 65 and Mr Romney trails with 40.
20.06: A big round of results have just landed. The AP declared Mr Obama the winner in Illinois (20)*, Connecticut (7), Maine (4), Washington DC (3), Delaware (3), Rhode Island (4), Maryland (10) and Massachusetts (11).
Mr Romney has taken Oklahoma (7).
*Number in parenthesis is the electoral vote for the named state.
20.01: The Associated Press has called Mr Romney the winner of Indiana’s 11 electoral votes and South Carolina’s 9 electoral votes.
20.00: Polls have now closed in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee.