US Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and US President Barack Obama answer a question at the same time during the second US presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York. Reuters/Jim Young
President Barack Obama will visit three states on his career’s last day of campaigning for himself on Monday, before heading home in Chicago to wait for the verdict.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney has a similarly tight schedule before winding up in Boston, Massachusetts — to vote on election day on Tuesday, and wait.
Just a few hours short of polling day, the race remained tight, with Obama clinging to a razor-thin edge in new polls nationwide and in battleground states. The president was favoured by 49% to Romney’s 48% likely voters nationally in a Washington Post/ABC news daily tracker. But he led Romney by 3 points in a Pew poll. A CNN poll, on the other hand, showed the two tied at 49%.
Polls also showed President Obama got a boost for his handling of Hurricane Sandy — he appeared presidential, willing to work with opponents such as New Jersey governor Chris Christie.
The winner needs 270 of the 538 US presidential electoral college votes. Obama got 365 electoral college votes in 2008, to 173 of Republican candidate John McCain.
If Obama wins, he will continue the general tradition of incumbents winning a second term, with a few exceptions —Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican George H Bush.
Hours to election day, neither candidate nor their campaigns was considering the prospect of defeat, not when victory, as projected in polls, was just a couple of points away for both.
President Obama starts the day in Wisconsin, where he leads by 4 points, but wants to seal it. His next stop is Ohio, the mother of battleground states.
In fact, there hasn’t been a single day lately when he did not visit Ohio, where he is leading by a thin margin. He ends his campaign in Iowa, where he started his run in 2007.
Romney will be focussing on Florida, where he has led in polls; Virginia, a Republican state that turned battleground in 2008, and end in New Hampshire.
Over 30 million Americans have already voted in person — such as President Obama — or by mail — such as the first lady, through a system of early voting.