WASHINGTON, D.C. —
President Barack Obama moved ahead of Mitt Romney in their duel for the White House, rolling up victory margins Tuesday night in the reliably Democratic Northeast and his home state of Illinois while the Republican challenger secured his conservative base.
Romney led in the popular vote, gaining 51 percent to the president’s 47 percent with 1 percent of the precincts reporting.
The polls were still open in most of the battleground states — Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia and Florida among them — as the two rivals began claiming the spoils of a brawl of an election in a year in which a struggling economy and high unemployment put a crimp in the middle class dreams of millions.
Obama carried Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and Romney’s home state of Massachusetts. Also as expected, he won Delaware and Maryland as well as the District of Columbia and Illinois.
Romney had South Carolina, Oklahoma, Kentucky and West Virginia in his column. He also won Indiana, a state Obama carried in 2008 but did not contest this year.