us election still too close to call

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    ABC Online;
    Polls have now closed in 44 of the 50 American states and there are still no surprises so far in the US presidential election.

    So far the electoral college map is unfolding pretty much as expected. Republican's are tipped to carry West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Okalahoma.

    The Democrats are looking safe in Vermont, New Jersey, Merrylands, Massachusetts, Delaware, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine and DC.

    American television networks are projecting wins for George W Bush in 18 states with 170 electoral votes.

    John Kerry has 112 electoral votes, having won 10 states.

    A winning candidate needs 270 electoral votes.

    But the key battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are still up for grabs with networks saying they re not prepared to make a prediction.

    Polls in Ohio were supposed to close several hours ago, but the turnout in the cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati is so strong polls are still open and may be opened until 1.00am (US time).

    Democrats though are hopeful of winning the state, with some Republican insiders suggesting President Bush will have to win a second term without the so-called 'buck eye' state.

    After initial exit polls showed Senator Kerry with an edge, early counting of real votes is showing President Bush is doing much better rallying Republican hopes.

    With 49 per cent of votes counted in Florida, he has a lead of approximately 250,000 votes.

    Senator Kerry is currently at his home in Boston and thousands of supporters are rallying in the city's centre.

    The President is at the White House and earlier told reporters: "I believe I will win, thank you very much. I feel good about it".

    Dave R.
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