Voters wait outside a makeshift polling station on Sandy-ravaged Staten Island, New York. (AP)
Welcome to the FT’s live coverage of a momentous election in which US voters will choose between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to lead them through a future of economic and political uncertainty. Here is our moment-by-moment reporting as months of bitter campaigning and rancorous rhetoric end, and voters finally have their say. By Anjli Raval and Arash Massoudi in New York and John Aglionby and Ben Fenton in London. (All times EST)
16.52 We’re going to take a short break before the polls start to close. Stay tuned for more live coverage on FT.com, which can be found here.
16.49: Lionel Barber, Financial Times editor, writes a piece from Washington saying that America’s real test comes after the polls:
The final stretch: Barack Obama presses the flesh at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Sunday (AP)
Welcome to the penultimate summary of media coverage of the 2012 US election campaign on a day when geography means nothing and psephology everything as the candidates make their final push for the few, surely very few, remaining undecided voters.
The polls on this last day of campaigning suggest President Barack Obama has a slight edge in the states he needs to hold – Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada – to keep the White House, but his opponent Mitt Romney is easily close enough for polls to be wrong and an upset to be possible.
RealClearPolitics.com shows “Obama (D)” ahead of “Romney (R)” by a sliver – half of a percentage point. Five national polls on Sunday gave the following margins: Obama +3; Obama +1; Obama +1; Tie; Tie. The possibility, last seen in 2000, of the victor losing the popular vote but winning in the electoral college, remains open.
Scott Walker at his victory party on June 5. AP Photo/Morry Gash
The great novelist William Faulkner once said: “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.”
On Tuesday night, Republicans issued a warning shot to Barack Obama with the defeat of a recall vote against Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor, who last year stripped public sector unions of most of their bargaining rights.
There were plenty of omens for Mr Obama’s November prospects, mostly – but not all – bad (he came ahead of Mitt Romney in the exit polls).
But the fact that normally Democratic Wisconsin is now in play for November may be less important than the relevance of Tuesday’s history lesson. Stalking in the background, and doubtless turning in his grave, was Robert La Follette, the Wisconsin reformer, who championed worker rights more than a century ago. As father to the Progressive Era, La Follette led the reaction against the inequities of the Gilded Age by taking on the great railroad and oil industry money machines.