President Obama is the projected winner of New Hampshire, keeping the state’s four electoral votes in the Democratic column for the third consecutive election.
The Associated Press and TV networks called the Granite State for the president based on early returns and exit polling data. Obama led Mitt Romney 54.5% to 44.2% with 22% of precincts reporting.
New Hampshire has the least clout of the battleground states, but in a razor-thin election it was no less sought after. Both campaigns need to look only to 2000, when a victory in the state for Al Gore could have made Florida’s result moot.
Because New Hampshire is one of the rare state without early voting, Obama made a sustained late push there, with rallies in three of its largest cities in consecutive weeks, most recently a joint event with former President Bill Clinton on Sunday. All but a sliver of the state’s nearly 800,000 voters were expected to cast ballots on Election Day, bucking the national trend.
Obama fended off a significant challenge from Republicans in a state that borders the state where Romney served as governor, and in which he owns a lakefront home. Romney launched his second bid for the White House in the state more than a year and a half ago and held his final rally there Monday night.