"It was invisible, as always," Theodore H. White wrote of Election Day in 1960, more than half a century ago. "They had begun to vote in the villages of New Hampshire at midnight, as they always do, seven and a half hours before the candidate rose."
Our ritual of choosing a president isn't as invisible as it once was; early voting has been visible -- even noisy some of the time -- in Ohio, Florida and other states for weeks. Almost 32 million ballots have already been cast. But another 100 million or so will still come in today the old-fashioned way, from the traditional midnight polling in Dixville Notch, N.H., to the closing in Alaska (at 8 p.m., Anchorage time) exactly 24 hours later.
Here’s where the race stands as election day dawns: President Obama and Mitt Romney are roughly tied in national surveys. The difference between them is well within the polls’ margins of error; the popular vote too close to call.
But polls in the 10 or so battleground states, where the electoral college will be decided, give an advantage to Obama. In Ohio, the most important prize, polls show the president almost 3% ahead on average. Romney has the lead in Florida and North Carolina; Obama has the lead in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.