President Barack Obama is now certain to win a second term, leading in a neck-and-neck race in Florida, and by around 2% in Ohio, having easily retained Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Michigan. CNN, NBC and even Fox have now declared Obama the winner, and the Empire State Building has been lit up Democrat blue, the lights connected to CNN’s predictive hardware.

However Mitt Romney has indicated that he does not accept the network’s call of Ohio for Obama, and so there is no indication of when, or if, he will concede tonight.

Romney is on track to win Virginia and North Carolina, but Democrat strategists are upbeat about retaining Colorado and Nevada. Barring an extraordinary reversal in numbers for Florida and Ohio, or outright vote stealing, there is almost no chance for Romney to reach 270 votes.

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Currently Romney is trailing by around 50,000 votes, less than 1%, in Florida, but virtually all the votes have been counted, and the sources of a reversal are drying up. The 2% lead in Ohio is even more difficult to close, though there are more votes to come in.

Should Obama win Florida, then it’s all over. He would have had to take every other swing state to compensate for the loss of those 29 electoral college votes. Should he win Florida, then together with Virginia, North Carolina, he would need to take both Ohio and Colorado to get across the line. Ohio alone wouldn’t do it, and there are no other options, with Nevada forecast for Obama.

The vote is now 49.8% to 49.3% in Florida — 3.928 million to 3.893 million votes in Obama’s favour — with 94.3% reporting. In Ohio, with exactly two-thirds of votes counted, Obama is leading 50.1% to 48.2% (1.98 million to 1.91 million votes). In Colorado, with 30% of votes reported, Obama is leading 50.8% to 47.2% (895,000 to 830,000 votes).

Romney appears to have won North Carolina by about 2% and Virginia by 1%.

There is no clear indication as to when or if there will be a concession or a claim from either camp in the next half-hour or so. Romney told reporters earlier that he had written no concession speech. He may be scribbling one now.

In the Senate, the Republicans have also had a shocking night, losing everything they realistically could. However, the Republicans have retained control of the House, with only a few seats changing hands.

The Republicans seems shell-shocked by the loss, which has proceeded almost exactly as the polls — especially Nate Silver’s blog — predicted.

So we wait, and drink, and wait …

STOP PRESS: It’s not Romney disputing Ohio. Allegedly. It’s Karl Rove on Fox News. There is disorder under heaven and the situation is excellent.

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Australia has spoken. We want more from the people in power and deserve a media that keeps them on their toes. And thank you, because it’s been made abundantly clear that at Crikey we’re on the right track.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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