The election played out with intensity in the small subset of battleground states: Colorado, Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Romney's late move to add Pennsylvania to the mix was an effort to expand his options, and Republicans poured millions into previously empty airwaves there.
In the campaign's final hours, voters around the country echoed the closing arguments of the two presidential candidates.
Jim Clark, a 42-year-old computer administrator from Topeka, Kan., is a registered Republican who voted for Obama in 2008, seeking change. But he voted Tuesday for Romney after losing a full-time job two years ago and working temporary assignments since then.
"I'm just ready for a change," Clark said. "It's tougher for me, personally. The economy has not improved."
But 35-year-old Tamara Johnson, of Apex, N.C., said she was sticking with Obama even though she's not as enthusiastic as four years ago.
"I wouldn't say it's easy," said the 35-year-old customs broker as she voted at the Wake County Firearms Education & Training Center. "I have to take into account everything that's been going on and everything I feel will go on. Not just for myself and the future but for my kids. And I think I made the right choice."
Associated Press writers Julie Pack in Chicago, Wayne Parry in Point Pleasant, N.J., Allen Breed in Apex, N.C., John Hanna in Topeka, Kan., Darlene Superville in Arlington, Va., Steve Peoples in Belmont, Mass., Philip Elliott in Janesville, Wis., and Matthew Daly in Wilmington, Del., contributed to this report.
Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nbenac
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.