Barack Obama has won re-election to a second term as president, beating back a fierce challenge from Republican Mitt Romney. Obama prevailed despite a weak economy and high unemployment.

Voters decided to give Obama another four years of stewardship over an economy that is slowly recovering from the recession.

Obama captured battleground states including Ohio, Iowa and Colorado on his way to the 270 electoral votes he needed.

Romney unsuccessfully campaigned on the theme that his business background gave him the experience needed to guide the nation out of tough economic times.

Obama will again be dealing with a divided Congress. Democrats maintained control of the Senate and Republicans likely will again control the House. Among the most pressing matters is the so-called fiscal cliff of tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to hit in January. Economists have warned that if they aren't averted, the nation could face another recession.

Ohio, where Romney staged an all-out effort of the past several weeks, proved too much. President Obama carried the state on the strength of an overpowering early vote initiative and strong turnout in the state's larger cities.

Obama was leading Romney by more than 200,000 early and absentee votes and was expected to receive as many or more votes in places like Cleveland and Toledo than he did in carrying the state four years ago.

But Obama maintained heavy pressure on Romney in the race's closing weeks by reminding voters the Republican opposed the federal auto industry bailout.

Obama struck at the issue during the campaign's last debate. And the Romney campaign's airing an ad that wrongly suggested Jeep was moving jobs from Toledo to China prompted Obama to charge Romney with lying, and released its own ad.

Obama also won Iowa, where Republicans thought they had a chance in light of GOP gains in the state in 2010. But Obama spent more than $50 million in Iowa defending the state he carried in 2008, and that launched him in the 2008 leadoff nominating caucuses.


Voters had a more favorable view of President Barack Obama than Republican challenger Republican challenger Mitt Romney, and the president had an 11-point lead over Romney on the question of which candidate is more in touch with people like them. Of those holding that view, 91 percent voted for Obama.

On the other hand, most voters said that Romney's policies would generally favor the rich, while only 1 in 10 said that was the case for the president's policies. Seven in 10 voters said that Obama's policies generally favor the middle class or poor, while less than 4 in 10 said that about Romney's policies. Obama had hammered Romney during the campaign as someone whose proposed across-the-board tax cuts would mostly help the rich at the expense of everyone else.

There was an income split among voters: Obama won a majority of those whose family income was less than $50,000 last year, while Romney led among those with $50,000 or more.


Obama led by 12 percentage points among women, while Romney led among men. A majority of those under 45 voted for Obama, with people under 30 backing the president in especially large numbers. People 45 and over were breaking for Romney.


Fifty-nine percent of voters said the economy was the biggest issue facing the country, about the same percentage as 2008. Next were health care (18 percent) and the deficit (15 percent). A measly 5 percent said foreign policy was the top issue. Seventy-seven percent of voters called the economy not so good or poor. Voters split about equally on the question of which candidate would better handle the economy. And about half said former President George W. Bush is more to blame for the current economic problems, while 4 in 10 laid the blame with the current president.


Just under 4 in 10 voters said unemployment was the biggest economic problem facing voters like them. Nearly as many called rising prices the biggest economic problem. Taxes and housing were a distant third and fourth, respectively.


Forty-two percent of voters said that President Barack Obama's response to Superstorm Sandy was important in their vote for president, and, not surprisingly, most supported his re-election. The 53 percent who said it wasn't important in their vote mostly supported Romney.


Romney, who joked at a secretly recorded fundraiser that "it would be helpful to be Latino," won just 3 of 10 Hispanic voters. Romney won big among white voters, taking nearly 6 of 10, while Obama won more than 9 of 10 black voters.


About 4 in 10 voters said the U.S. economy was getting better, while 3 in 10 said it was getting worse and 3 in 10 said it was the same.

About a quarter of voters said their family's financial situation is better than it was four years ago, while 4 in 10 reported it was about the same. Both groups supported Obama. One-third of voters said they were worse off, and they were voting for Romney.


Six in 10 voters said that taxes should be increased, including nearly half of voters saying that taxes should be increased on income over $250,000, as Obama has called for. Just over one-third said taxes should not be increased for anyone. But more than 6 in 10 voters said taxes should not be raised to cut the budget deficit.


Just under 50 percent of voters favored repealing some or all of Obamacare. Forty-four percent preferred that the health care law be expanded or left as is.


Less than 3 in 10 voters said that most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be deported, while nearly two-thirds said such people should be offered a chance to apply for legal status.


Just under 3 in 10 voters said vision for the future mattered most in their vote for president, and a similar number said sharing their values was the most important candidate quality.


As usual, women voted in larger numbers, making up 54 percent of the vote. Democrats made up 38 percent of the vote, with 32 percent Republican and 30 percent independent or something else.

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