As the results of the U.S. elections trickle in, early returns put Barack Obama with a commanding lead. This is entirely consistent with the all the opinions polls leading up to election day.
What is clear, though, is that the economy was the foremost concern in voters’ minds and is the most critical determinant of today’s outcome. According to CNN, exit polls showed that 62% of voters said the economy was the most important issue. The war in Iraq was the most important for 10%, and terrorism and health care were each the top issue for 9 % of voters.
The economy has dominated the last leg of the campaign as both Obama and McCain tried to convince voters that they can best solve the financial crisis. Although McCain was at a decided disadvantage, as he is of course identified with the Bush administration which bears the blame for the compounded problems of the U.S., domestically and abroad.
As I write this, the New York Times reports that Obama has taken Pennsylvania, a crucial win, as McCain has made the state a central focus of his election strategy. McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, visited the state 10 times in recent weeks as they tried to turn the blue (Democrat) state red (Republican). This and Obama’s impending win in Ohio, a key swing state with 20 electoral votes, could deal a fatal blow to the McCain campaign.
Update: McCain concedes the election ! Obama elected first black president of the U.S.