President Barack Obama captured hard-fought New Hampshire Tuesday night in a tense duel for the White House with Mitt Romney, claiming the first of the pivotal battleground states in a close election shadowed by a weak economy and high unemployment.
The president also secured Pennsylvania, where Romney campaigned twice in the race's closing days after virtually ignoring it for months.
Romney led in the national popular vote with 25.2 million votes, or 50 percent. Obama had 24.2 million, or 48 percent, with 32 percent of precincts tallied.
The former Massachusetts governor also held an early electoral vote advantage, 159-147, with 270 needed for victory, although he lost his home state of Michigan as well as Massachusetts, where he served as governor.
New Hampshire aside, the battlegrounds that held the keys to the White House were anything but settled - Virginia, Ohio and Florida among them - with long lines in many locations more than two hours after closing time long after poll-close time.