America votes: It'll be historic whosoever wins
America chooses its 44th president in an election that's bound to be historic whosoever wins - Democrat Barack Obama as widely predicted or his feisty Republican rival John McCain.world Updated: Nov 04, 2008 11:41 IST
America chooses its 44th president on Tuesday in an election that's bound to be historic whosoever wins - Democrat Barack Obama as widely predicted or his feisty Republican rival John McCain.
Heading into the election with a double-digit lead in national polls Obama, 47, is vying to become the first African American US president.
If beating all odds, McCain, 72, gets elected he would be the oldest American to win a first presidential term. McCain's victory would also give America its first female vice president in his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, 44.
Turnout is widely predicted to be heavy, despite early polling in 30 states that has already brought in an estimated 27 million of its over 200 million voters.
Polling places were bracing for turnout that some analysts predict could exceed the 63 per cent of voting age population that was recorded in 1960, when John F. Kennedy defeated Richard M. Nixon for the presidency.
In their quest for the magic figure of 270 electoral votes in a nationwide total of 538 that would propel one of them into the White House, Obama and McCain continued their last full day of campaigning on Monday, holding rallies in swing states.
According to polls, the closest races for the biggest hauls of electoral votes this year are in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana and Missouri.
To win the election, a Washington Post analysis said, McCain must win all of them and capture additional electoral votes in states that are leaning Obama's way. Among those other states are Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes), Virginia (13), Colorado (nine), Iowa (seven) and Nevada (five).
"We are one day away from change in America," Obama told a crowd in Jacksonville, Florida. "Tomorrow, you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation just to win an election... Tomorrow, at this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need."
Accusing McCain of supporting President George Bush on the election's central issue: the dismal state of the US economy, he said his opponent "still has not been able to tell the American people a single major thing he'd do different from George Bush when it comes to the economy."
Bur speaking in Tampa, Florida, McCain on a one-day, seven-state blitz harped on his general theme that change is needed after eight years of Bush's increasingly unpopular administration, and he predicted victories in Florida and in the national election.
At another rally in Blountville, Tennessee, near the border with Virginia, the Vietnam War veteran declared that polls and pundits have been wrong before.
"I am an American, and I choose to fight," he shouted near the end of his stump speech. "Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."
Both Obama and McCain plan to keep stumping for votes until the last minute, attending Election Day events on Tuesday in other battleground states before returning to their home states of Illinois and Arizona to await the results.
Besides the president, Americans on Tuesday also elect a new 435 member House of Representatives, 35 of 100 senators and governors of eleven states.