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Election Night in America; CNN Projects Results in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland

Aired November 6, 2012 - 20:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And we can project several states going for President Obama right now, 8:00 p.m. on the east coast. Connecticut, seven electoral votes. The president will capture that state, take all seven electoral votes in Connecticut. Delaware, the president will take three electoral votes in the state of Delaware. Joe Biden's home state. He carries Delaware. The District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., and its three electoral votes going for the president of the United States. D.C. for the president.

His home state of Illinois, a big prize, 20 electoral votes, all going for the president of the United States. Illinois going for the president.

Let's continue. The president also will take Maryland and its 10 electoral votes. We project Maryland going for the president of the United States. A big win in Maryland. In Massachusetts, the home state, the home state of Mitt Romney, all 11 electoral votes, all of them will be going for the president of the United States in Massachusetts.

In Maine, three of the four, three of the four electoral votes we project in Maine will go for the president. Maine, excuse me, like Nebraska, they allocate their electoral votes differently according to congressional delegations. Maine, as of now, we can project three of the four, the fourth one we cannot yet project in Maine.

Rhode Island, all four electoral votes we project will go for the president of the United States. In Rhode Island. Several states as you can see, we project going for the president.

What about Mitt Romney? We project he will carry at this hour Oklahoma and its seven electoral votes. Oklahoma in Romney's corner.

We cannot make projections in several states where the polls have just closed. And we'll show you what they are on the right part of your screen. Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. We're not yet able to make projections.

So on the road to 270, take a look and see where it stands right now. Right now, the president has 64 electoral votes in his corner. We project Mitt Romney has 40 in his corner. We project as we wait for more real votes to come in, we want to also share with you what our exit polls are revealing. Remember, these are estimates. They're based on interviews with a sampling of voters as they left select polling stations and phone interviews with a sampling of people who voted early.

All right. Take a look at this. Let's go to Florida first. Wow. Look at how close the exit poll estimates, the situation in Florida is right now. Fifty percent for the president, 49 percent for Mitt Romney. Very, very tight exit poll result in Florida.

In Mississippi, not so tight, 60 percent, we estimate, according to our exit poll, going for Mitt Romney, 40 percent for the president. In Missouri, Mitt Romney, 53 percent to the president's 44 percent. That's Missouri. We're watching that state closely.

We have more exit polls. I want to put them up for you right now. Other exit poll results, in New Hampshire, look at how close it is in New Hampshire. A key battleground state. Fifty percent for the president, 48 percent for Mitt Romney. Remember, this is an estimate.

In New Jersey, they had weather-related problems as you know, our estimate, according to this exit poll, 53 percent for the president, 45 percent for Mitt Romney. In Pennsylvania, that's a state where Mitt Romney sought to make a run in the final few days of this campaign, look at how close, 52 percent for the president, 47 percent for Mitt Romney.

Remember, these are estimates that reflect the votes of the people we interviewed at select polling places. Early voters, we also spoke to early voters who were interviewed on the phone. They may not necessarily reflect the actual outcome in a particular state once we get the final vote tallies.

Let's show you some real votes that have come in. These are not exit polls. These are real votes. We'll start in Florida, 42 percent of the vote is in. The president maintaining a slight advantage, 51 percent to 49 percent, 73,500 vote advantage. More than three million votes have been counted, 29 electoral votes in Florida.

In Virginia, 12 percent of the vote is now in. In Virginia, Mitt Romney has a slight advantage, 59 percent. That's not so slight, I should say, to 40 percent, 87,000 vote advantage with 12 percent of the vote in for Mitt Romney.

In Ohio, only 7 percent of the vote is in. I want to caution you. But right now, the president maintains a lead of 62 percent to 37 percent. That's 100,000 vote advantage with only 7 percent of the vote in for the president right now in Ohio.

Let me give you a show of the national popular vote where it stands right now. This is the popular vote. There it is right there. Right now, with 2 percent of the popular vote nationwide in, 51 percent for Mitt Romney, 48 percent for President Obama. He's got 163 vote advantage, the popular vote slightly ahead for Mitt Romney right now but it's still very, very early.

And lots to dissect and digest -- Anderson. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, let's get quick reaction from the campaigns. Jessica Yellin is with the Romney campaign. Candy Crowley is with the Obama campaign.

Jessica, let's start with you.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm with the Obama campaign in Chicago here.

COOPER: I'm sorry. Sorry about that. Yes.

YELLIN: Anderson, it would be a feat, a miracle of holograms if we could actually do that tonight, Anderson. But the Obama campaign is feeling confident and cheered that they are looking at the numbers they're looking at tonight. The one worry they would have is that number Wolf just referred to, the popular vote.

If Mitt Romney does come ahead in that popular vote total, that would be a grave disappointment to them because they are feeling quite confident about everything else they have seen tonight. They think that they will win this but if they win without winning the popular vote, that would create quite a governing challenge for the president -- Anderson.

COOPER: And let's check in actually with Jim Acosta who's with the Romney campaign -- Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson, yes, we just spent a very busy day with the former Massachusetts governor. We departed Massachusetts early this morning after he voted near his home in Belmont, went to Cleveland, Ohio, where we saw that dramatic scene on the tarmac with the Romney campaign plane, the Ryan campaign plane and the vice president's plane all on that tarmac at the same time.

He made a couple of stops there in Ohio, went off to Pittsburgh to talk to some voting center supporters who were there just outside the Pittsburgh airport, and then back it was back to Boston. And we understand right now he is watching the returns come in with his family here in Boston at the Westin Hotel that is connected to this convention center, where we're standing right now.

But on that plane ride into Boston, Anderson, I have to tell you, we heard a cheer in the front of the cabin as they departed Pittsburgh because everybody in the front of the plane, the Romney campaign, some of his family members, his top advisors, realized that this was their last campaign flight and so they were celebrating there for a moment.

And then the GOP nominee came to the back of the plane and talked to the reporters who have been tirelessly covering his campaign for the last year and a half, and he told us at one point, I asked him the question, what is your assessment of this campaign, do you have any regrets, and here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You know, I'm very proud of the campaign that we've run, to tell you the truth. No campaign is perfect. I'm sure like any campaign, people can point to mistakes but that's going to be part of anything that's produced by human beings. But our team has been very solid. We've not had the kind of in- fighting that's reported to have occurred in other campaigns. We worked well together. Our campaign team has. And we've gotten our message across.

I am -- I am very pleased. I feel like we've put it all on the field, we left nothing in the locker room. We fought to the very end and I think that's why we'll be successful.


ACOSTA: And we heard Candy Crowley earlier talking about white knuckles in Romney campaign headquarters. Mitt Romney was projecting confidence on that campaign plane. He told the reporters gathered there he has written only one speech tonight, it is a victory speech, and Romney being the numbers guy that he is, he knew the word count, 1,118 words. Of course he may be making some revisions before he delivers a speech later on this evening, and they still hope it will be a speech declaring victory -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Jim, thanks very much for that.

We'll continue to check in with our correspondents throughout the evening, obviously. Let's go to John King again at the magic wall -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, he only gets to give that 1,100 odd word speech if he gets to 270. Let's take a closer look at what voters are telling us on the exit polls as we watch the results come in in a highly competitive election, including in the state Romney almost definitely needs to win to get there.

In the state of Ohio today, 22 percent of the voters describe themselves as liberals, 42 percent as moderates, 35 percent conservative. Figure out the color code at home. It's blue, that means President Obama carried the moderate vote, 58 percent to 40 percent among those in the middle. We'll watch this as we go state to state because you have an election, an electorate that's describing itself plurality wise as moderates today.

Among conservatives in the state of Ohio, a big win for Governor Romney. He wins 8 in 10 conservatives, only 18 percent for the president. And among those who are liberals, you expect what's about to happen here, 89 percent to 90. So both candidates getting their base. The balance of power, the fight will be in the middle of the electorate. Democrats, Republicans and independents, Governor Romney won among independents. That's why if you call the Romney campaign headquarters right now, they say, watch -- don't worry about that early exit poll numbers saying the president is ahead in this state, they think this bodes well for them as the vote count goes on.

Who would better handle the economy? By a narrow margin, Governor Romney wins on the defining question of the election. And among the voters who say he would better handle the economy, no surprise there, but that's a big slice, 95 percent who say Governor Romney would better handle the economy voted for him. You get an equal slice here of 99 percent who say no, the president is better to have his hands on the economic stewardship. He wins there.

Here's a question we're going to watch this one play out here. The president's team thinks this could be the decisive issue in the state of Ohio. Fifty-nine percent of Ohio voters today say yes, the federal government should have intervened, should have bailed out the auto industry. Second to Michigan, Ohio is in auto jobs. And look at this, 75 percent of the voters who approved of the bailout voted for the president today.

Let me switch and come over here. Wolf standing by at the magic wall.

Wolf, if the auto bailout is decisive, we see the president winning right now, but 59 percent to 40 percent. That's only 9 percent of the vote. So almost forget that number. We'll watch it, but don't pay too much attention to that number right now. One of the things we're going to watch is up here. Auto industry in Toledo, auto industry across this part of the state, blue-collar over in Youngstown. The governor has to win out here in the middle, president will win in Columbus and he has to run it up here. But if the numbers --

BLITZER: John, I want to interrupt for a moment. I want to go right to Erin Burnett. She's in the Ohio capital of Columbus watching what's going on.

There's some news that you're learning, Erin. What are you learning?

ERIN BURNETT, ANCHOR, ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT: All right. What we are learning, Wolf, a little bit about some of the early and absentee votes. Now, you know, we've been telling everybody for the first time every voter in Ohio got the option to vote absentee and a lot of people voted early. I mean those percentages surged from the last election. 1.8 million people, absentee or early, those votes are crucial. And we're starting to get them come in.

One places we've been talking about as crucial is Cuyahoga County and Cleveland. And that's where Martin Savidge is with some of the early count there to place so crucial for the president.

And, Martin, what do the numbers say up there?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Erin. This is the place that the president has to do well and so far he is doing well. But again, these are just the very first early numbers. President Obama leading 176,162 votes to Mitt Romney's 72,135. Again, those are the tallies of the early votes. More of those still to come. But right now the president has doubled the lead. He needs to do really well here if he wants to do well in the state of Ohio -- Erin. BURNETT: He certainly does.

And, Wolf, you know, he's looking for maybe a two to one margin there. Of that 1.8 million, though, Wolf, this is the crucial number to watch, as the numbers start to come in across the state of Ohio. You know, election officials have been telling me, 200,000, 250,000 of those votes may become provisional. That is they don't start to be counted for another 10 days. So if your margin in this state is a lot tighter than that, then it could be a long time before we know who the victor is in the state of Ohio. Back to you.

BLITZER: Erin, thanks very much. Martin Savidge, thanks very much. John King is still here. Let's talk about Ohio right now. We're going to spend a lot of time tonight talking about Ohio.

But what do you think?

KING: Well, you look at the early numbers, where Marty Savidge is, he's up here in Cleveland. The president has to win here. Let me draw the line here. It's this part up here, I'm going to show you the difference up here. This is Lake County. This is the suburbs right here. And he's winning right now, 51 to 48 percent. So in the city, the president has to rack up huge margins, 70 to 20.

Now let's just go back in time and look, 69-30, again we're very early but the president at the moment is doing what he needs to do. Get a big urban turnout, get a big African-American turnout. There's some labor up here.

This election will be decided in part as to whether Governor Romney can do better here than John McCain. You see the 51-48, very preliminary vote. So don't bank on that yet but just remember that comparison, 50-49. So this is a competitive suburban area just outside of Cleveland. That's one of the battlegrounds within the battleground.

Let's come back to 2012. So nobody thinks we're on the wrong map. Blue color Akron, blue color Youngstown, across to Toledo. It's the northern industrial part of the state where the Obama campaign believes its margins will be even better than 2008 because of the auto bailout. We'll watch and see how that plays out.

In the middle here, Governor Romney has to win and Cincinnati, Wolf, is another county we'll watch the early returns, the president's ahead in Hamilton County but it's very early -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's a key county. We've got another projection to make right now.

And CNN projects that Mitt Romney will carry the state of Georgia and its 16 electoral votes. Right now with 7 percent of the vote in Georgia in, Mitt Romney way ahead 67 percent to 32 percent. He's got nearly 100,000 vote advantage. Those 16 electoral votes will go in the column of Mitt Romney.

So where do we stand right now on the road to 270? That's what's needed to be elected president of the United States. President Obama still with a slight advantage so far, 64 electoral votes in his college -- in his column, according to our projection, 56 for Mitt Romney. It's close but we have made that projection in Georgia.

Not a huge surprise, John, Georgia, in presidential contests is pretty often a Republican state.

KING: Yes, it would be a great shock.


KING: It would be a great shock not since Bill Clinton won his campaign. He's competed and won down in Georgia. But it's been a long time since. So this part you expect to be red. It's this one here, the state of Florida, that is hotly contested. It's red at the moment but just barely.

BLITZER: Wow. Look at that.

KING: Look at that. Little over half -- little over half of the vote in there. We're in the digits, we're in the -- we're in 80,000 votes.


KING: It's 80,000 votes separating the two candidates. Now we get to test our math skills tonight. And what's happening is if you look at the map fill in, in a way it's doing what it's supposed to do, if you'd say it. It's doing what you would expect to do. Across this part of the state, Governor Romney has to -- this gray area means we have no votes in yet, Governor Romney has to run up big margins here. Not a lot of people live here. He just needs huge margins here.

Straight in here, this is your big I-4 Corridor, population center is in Tampa. Let me get rid of the lines so they don't confuse people. Bring them out and take a look. We're only at 16 percent of the vote, 16 percent of the vote. Hillsborough County, 53-46. We like to just take a check. Look at that, 53-46 in a close state, Governor Romney needs to get tighter.

You look at that. If the president's matching his performance in these counties from 2008, and he's in good shape tonight. What Governor Romney needs, especially in the population centers, bring the president down some and then do better in the suburban areas and then the rural areas than John McCain. This one, I don't think this one is going to stay this way.

Broward County, 10 percent of the state population going Governor Romney's way right now. It is one of the most reliably Democratic counties in the state.


KING: As you know, Wolf, but it is a test down here. Again, as to whether the president can keep his margins --

BLITZER: How's he doing in Miami-Dade right now? What's the latest there?

KING: Let's sit down and take a look. Very little bit of the vote in. Still really none of the vote officially in. But 62 percent to 38 percent for the president. Again if you go back and take a look, the president's doing a little bit better than he did. If you look -- let's go statewide. I just want to show you something, if you look statewide in 2008 you see the president's margin, 51-48. Florida one of the closer battleground states, 51-48. Just about all of the president's margin came down here. So it's critical for Governor Romney to -- these will be blue at the end of the night. This will be blue at the end of the night, there's no question about that. But it's critical for Governor Romney to close the margin there, get higher turnout in rural areas. And you've just seen Tampa just change on us as the results come in. That's one of the great benefits of this.

That's four years ago. That's right now. Hillsborough County just changed, so this is -- they're fighting this one out. We're up to 35 percent of the vote, Mitt Romney has now pulled ahead. If he can keep that red, that's a good sign. If -- again, look at historical perspective. George W. Bush carried the state over John Kerry. Hillsborough County goes red, the president carries it four years ago, Mitt Romney, about a third of the vote in, ahead right now.

We're going to watch this one.


KING: There's a tug of war in Florida.

BLITZER: We're watching it closely.

Let's go to Virginia right now because there's a tug of war going on in Virginia as well. Take a look at Virginia.

KING: And like Florida, like Florida, the president can afford to lose some of these. I'm not saying his team wants to lose some of these but he has an easier path to 270. He can afford to lose some. That's 29. Governor Romney cannot afford to lose it. This is 13. Governor Romney cannot afford to lose this, either. And again, very early. Eighteen percent, we're going to be doing this for awhile, ladies and gentlemen, but Governor Romney has pulled ahead 57 percent to 42 percent.

When you look at the map, you say where are the votes. This has to be red. This has to stay red all night long. It has to stay red by margins like that. Tiny population centers but Governor Romney needs to get in the 60s, in the 70 percent. He's doing what he needs to do out in coal and rural, tobacco country in Virginia. The challenge is, is the president doing what he has to do here in Richmond right now?

I -- if this stays this way, Mitt Romney will win the state of Virginia. I don't suspect it will.

BLITZER: Only 6 percent of the vote. (CROSSTALK)

KING: Only 6 percent. Gary Tuchman was here earlier. We saw this. This is more of a swing county area. It's pretty competitive at the moment. Go back to '08, 56-44. Go back to 2004, George W. Bush carried that county. That's one of the things we'll watch historically. A huge question here is we're just waiting, they're just starting to come in.

Let's come close in to Washington, D.C. We're waiting nothing from Arlington County yet. That's the closest, just across the river. Nothing from Alexandria City yet, just across the river. Fairfax County, a big population center, 55-44. Go back in time and take a peek, 60-39.

So Governor Romney at the moment, just 1 percent of the vote in, he was just here the other day. At the moment, he's doing what he needs to do. Closing the president's margin in the suburbs, not as much as they were four years ago. Prince William County, just 5 percent, stay tuned. Governor Romney ahead at the moment. That is a county the president carried four years ago.

So if you're looking at this map at the moment, and I want to be careful, folks, let's come back to 2012, we're only just shy of 20 percent of the votes in the state of Virginia. If it tracks what it's doing now, close election, Romney's in good shape. We'll see if he can -- if he keeps the margins down up here in northern Virginia, he's in good shape as we fill in the counts.

BLITZER: Yes, he's up by about 100,000 votes but only 18 percent of the vote is in. We're going to have more on these results coming in.

But, Anderson and Dana Bash are standing by for an update on the balance of power in the Senate.

What are you learning?

COOPER: Yes, we got a lot more results on Senate races, Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. A lot to project. Let's start with the most important at this hour, and that is the state of Maine. Angus King, CNN is projecting that he, the former independent governor, is now going to be the new senator from the state. This was the first Republican heartbreak of this election year because this is a seat vacated by the moderate Republican Olympia Snowe. That was surely going to go Republican.

Now this newly elected independent says he won't say which way he's going to caucus but Democrats and Republicans privately say they just can't see him going with Republicans because they spend a lot of money to try to defeat him.

COOPER: Right.

BASH: Then in Tennessee, no surprise, the incumbent Republican senator of Tennessee, Bob Corker, has won re-election there. Florida, CNN is projecting that Bill Nelson has won. This is another disappointment for Republicans.


BASH: They were disappointed in their Republican candidate, Connie Mack, just didn't perform very well against this incumbent Democrat in a pretty competitive state.

Delaware, Tom Carper, one of the few remaining moderates in the Senate, Democrat, he is going on to win re-election, we're projecting. Maryland, CNN is projecting that Senator Ben Cardin, another Democrat, is going to win and same goes for Sheldon White House, the Democratic senator from Rhode Island. CNN is projecting that he has won another term.

But still, the drama is in those competitive races. Those too close to call and we're going to go back to the state of Indiana, Anderson. Look at this. It is still a pretty -- it was pretty close but look at this. Joe Donnelly, the Democratic candidate, pulled ahead of Richard Mourdock. Again he is a Republican candidate who made the big faux pas in talking about the fact that he believes that pregnancy as a result of rape is a gift from god. He plummeted in the polls, 29 percent reporting right now but so far, Joe Donnelly looks like he is ahead.

Republicans say that Romney has to -- that he has to outperform Romney by 10 points to win. And in Virginia, it is also very, very close. Only 17 percent of the vote reporting but George Allen is ahead by almost 34,000 points. Tim Kaine is a former governor. George Allen wants to get his seat back. He lost six years ago.

Co And let's look again, how any of this affects the balance of power.

BASH: Now remember, 51 is the magic number. That's what -- that's what either side has to get right now. Republicans have 38. Democrats have 35. If you add one of those purple seats here, that is for the independent senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, who won re- election tonight. This purple one right here, this is for that newly elected senator we just told you about, Angus King.

We're putting him sort of in the middle. We'll see what happens when he comes back. Neither side has this 51 needed for control now. Remember, Republicans need a plus four, net four, in order to win.

COOPER: All right. We'll continue to watch that with you. Let's check in back with our analyst over here Gloria Borger and David Gergen.

David, you've been looking into some of these exit polls.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think two things need to be said, Anderson. One, early in the evening we said the early exits seemed to be favoring President Obama in many of the swing states. And we said well we've got to wait for the next round of exit polls because maybe it will move back to Romney.

It's interesting that the new round is starting to come in now, actually has two states moving a little more toward Obama, not away from him.


GERGEN: In Florida, Romney was up one in the early exits. Now Obama is up one. In Pennsylvania, Obama was up three in the early exits. Now he's up five. We have to wait and see. There are some actual results coming in that are not actually in accord with the exits. So we'll still have to wait and see.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: We're still early in the evening but I thought just in terms of where the exits are, that's a striking change.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And in terms of where our polling has been throughout this entire campaign, if you look at the early exits and again with the caveat that it's early, on issues and the questions that divide the country, it's very, very much in keeping with what we were seeing during the campaign with President Obama doing much better with people who think he cares about their problems. Mitt Romney doing much better with people who think that government does too much. And by the way, a majority of people in this country do believe that government does too much.

COOPER: And we're very closely watching these numbers. Let's check back in with Wolf.

BLITZER: Anderson, thanks. Every vote counts in this election. Polls close in Arkansas just a matter of a few minutes. In Florida, the ballots are coming in. We're watching the vote counting in that major battleground state that could potentially decide the White House.

And let's check over at the Empire State Building in New York. Remember, we're turning the mast red and blue to reflect the electoral votes for each candidate based on CNN's projections. Let's add in the first round of results and watch the colored columns rise.

So will the red or the blue column be higher at the end of the night? You're going to find out right here.


BLITZER: There's another watch party going on. You're looking at live pictures from Chicago, it's an outside location over the Thompson Center Plaza. They're watching what's going on in this ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA.

We're getting closer to another round of results on this ELECTION NIGHT IN AMERICA. It's almost 8:30 p.m. on the East Coast. Polls are about to close in Arkansas. Stand by. We'll see if we can make a projection. The state, by the way, has six electoral votes and in this election, every, every electoral vote counts.

Brianna Keilar is over in Obama headquarters in Chicago. Candy Crowley is over at Romney headquarters in Boston.

Brianna, first to you. What's going on over there?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Wolf. We're on the floor here at McCormick Place, a convention center in downtown Chicago, and supporters of President Obama have just begun to come through the door and they're obviously staking out their position as close to the podium as possible.

The campaign says they're expecting about 10,000 people here at this event and most of them I should tell you are Chicago-based Obama campaign volunteers. Many of whom had to agree to do at least two canvassing shifts, voter canvassing shifts, Wolf, in nearby battleground states, Iowa and Wisconsin.

BLITZER: Brianna, thank you.

Candy is in Boston. Lot of folks already gathering behind you, Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: They are. And they have started sort of the preliminary program, the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem. We also heard from Craig Romney, who came over to talk to the folks here. And as you can hear the music has started. But you know the number crunching, the watching the polls, the white knuckle time is going on in that suite.

I talked to a senior advisor just about five minutes ago, said what's going on. He said well, you know, this is just -- you know this is high tension time. He did say to me the numbers are unbelievable in terms of turnout. He said we have really turned our votes out in those Republican places where they feel they really needed to have high turnout. He said we're now trying to figure out like where the Obama folks have turned out there. So again, white knuckling in here in private but the party's already started here in public -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Party in Boston, getting ready in Chicago. Let's go over to John over at the magic wall.

What are you looking at, John?

KING: I'm looking at these early results in key battleground states. Let's focus on the ones we know are must-wins for Mitt Romney. Battleground Florida is blue at the moment. It's very close, though, 51-48. A little more than half the vote in. As we watch this fill in, Governor Romney needs this 29 electoral votes. More county to go. But the president with a narrow lead in Florida.

Move up to battleground Virginia, it's more encouraging for Governor Romney there at the moment, we're up to about 24 percent of the vote, 56-42. Don't expect a margin for either candidate will end up that big. But at the moment, Governor Romney is performing a lot better than John McCain in the close-in Washington suburbs. Big population center so far. Only a small percentage of the vote, though, in from these suburbs. We're watching as that continuous.

And, Wolf, this is a must-win. And you see it's blue at the moment for President Obama, 20 percent of the now counted in the state of Ohio. A lead for the president but again remember, the vote we see so far is from Democratic areas. So don't buy that number yet. If that one stays blue, Wolf, Romney campaign would be in some deep trouble.

BLITZER: We're watching all of these states very, very closely. Every single electoral vote will count. The road to 270 continues.

We've got another couple of projections to make right now. We project Mitt Romney will carry Arkansas and its six electoral votes. Mitt Romney will win that southern state.

We also project Mitt Romney will carry Tennessee and its 11 electoral votes. Two more states in Mitt Romney's column. Let's take a look at the totals. The tally where it stands right now, Romney has taken a slight lead, 73 Electoral College votes for Romney. We project 64 for President Obama.

The key number you see at the top, 270 needed to win, Needed to win this election. We've got actual votes that have come in, that are coming in. I want to update you. These are real votes that are coming in.

Let's start in Florida right now. More than half of the vote is in, 56 percent. You see the president of the United States maintaining a 51 percent to 48 percent advantage. He's got a lead of more than 154,000 votes out of nearly five million votes cast already counted in Florida.

In Virginia, a quarter of the vote is in. Romney maintaining an advantage, 56 percent to 42 percent, almost a million votes have been counted and Romney has 131,000 plus advantage, 13 electoral votes in Virginia.

In North Carolina, Mitt Romney maintains an advantage as well, 45 percent almost half of the vote in North Carolina has been counted. Two million votes there have been counted. He's got an advantage of 51,000 votes, 51 percent to 48 percent.

In Ohio, 20 percent, 20 percent of the vote is in. The president of the United States has a significant lead, but only 20 percent of the vote has been counted, 58 percent for Barack Obama, 40 percent for Mitt Romney. That's an advantage of more than 200,000 votes in Ohio right now, 20 percent of the vote is in.

Let's move on. Remember, 18 electoral votes at stake in Ohio. Missouri, 10 electoral votes, only 1 percent of the vote is in. Very, very early, Romney leads 68 percent to 30 percent, very early in Missouri.

Let's move on to New Hampshire, four electoral votes, 63 percent for President Obama, 35 percent so far for Mitt Romney, but remember, very early, 5 percent of the vote is in.

Alabama, only a tiny number of votes in, 1 percent, 81 percent for Mitt Romney, 19 percent for President Obama very early. New Jersey, 54 percent for Mitt Romney with 1 percent of the vote in, very, very early in New Jersey. Barack Obama with 43 percent, but New Jersey, that vote is very, very early.

Let's take a look at the national popular vote right now, where it stands, 5 percent of that vote is now in. Mitt Romney maintains an advantage, 52 percent. You just saw it change to 47 percent, 8,667,000 votes for Romney right now nationally to President Obama's 7,800,000 votes.

That's an advantage of almost 800,000 popular votes, but only 5 percent of the popular vote has been counted so far. Let's go to John King. We're watching Florida, watching Ohio, watching Virginia as we fully expected.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And as you mentioned, it's only 5 percent so let's not jump to conclusions. That is one of the big questions, will one candidate win the popular vote, someone else win the Electoral College vote.

It happened four times in our history, including then. Al Gore won by 534,000, I think it was, 543,000 votes nationally. George W. Bush, of course, was president of the United States. Let's focus on where we are tonight. We will deal with the popular vote question a bit later.

Florida is blue at the moment. Let's go through them all. This is the state Governor Romney has to win. You are starting to get Candy called it white knuckle treatment. We are up to nearly 60 percent of the vote.

So that's close but this is a time when you start to get there, you start to look at the map and say where are the votes and where can we get them. One place is down here. Collier County, not huge, Naples area, only 5 percent in. It's a big Republican area. Governor Romney needs to run up numbers here. They need to get good turnout.

But for the president's side, you come over here in Broward county, in Miami-Dade County, and if you move up to Palm Beach County, these are three places where the president tends to run up big numbers and 32 percent in this county, but a much smaller number coming in, Broward and Miami-Dade tend to lag in terms of reporting in the state of Florida.

So the president's team as they look at the numbers can count on more votes from here, population center's reliably Democratic areas. If you're looking at the Romney campaign almost half of the vote right here, this is Orange County, big slice of the population in the Orlando area.

Let's match it up. When you match it up you say we're about halfway there, what happened four years ago here? Just right about the same. You had the president at 59 percent. You have the president at 59 percent.

Back in 2004 when George Bush carried the state it was 50-50. This is a swing area of the state. At the moment the president is ahead by --

BLITZER: Almost half the vote is in.

KING: Almost half the vote is in. A Republican needs that margin in Orange County to be tighter than that to carry the state. Let's move over, the other big county, Hillsborough. This has gone back and forth a couple times.

We're up to 61 percent now. Not a huge margin, 52-47, but one a Democrat needs to win. In '08 the president had 53 percent there. 6 percent of the state's population, again, flash back to when a republican last carried it, Republican carried this county.

If you're tracking Florida right now, and looking at the population centers, the president is roughly matching, roughly matching his 2008 numbers.

BLITZER: If he matches it, he'll be in good shape.

KING: Governor Romney needs to start overperforming and pretty quickly.

BLITZER: Let's move to Virginia.

KING: Let's move to Virginia, again, 29 electoral votes there. Romney campaign almost impossible to get them to 270 without it. Now red at the moment in Virginia. This is more encouraging to the Romney campaign.

We need to remember, only at 26 percent so only about a quarter of the vote, 57 is a good number. Why is that happening? Look where the votes are coming from. This is reliably red, conservative Republican territory. Most of the votes are in from here.

This is very encouraging early on for the Romney campaign, but it's only 5 percent of the vote. This is Prince William County. You're in the exurbs. About 45 minutes, an hour away from Washington. If Governor Romney wins Prince William County, he's competitive in the state of Virginia.

President Obama won with 58 percent here four years ago. Lowden County next door, the president got 54 percent. At the moment, this year, Mitt Romney's carrying these two exurban counties. The question is, what's the margin in here and what happens as we start to get closer to Washington? We expect the president to run up big numbers in the population centers here. At the moment, he's holding his own.

BLITZER: I want to go to Gary Tuchman outside of Richmond, Virginia, watching what's going on. Gary, what are you seeing?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is Henrico County, a battleground county in this battleground state. Barack Obama won it in 2008, the first time a Democrat had won this county since 1964. Same with Virginia as a whole.

These are the raw numbers in my hand. There are 93 precincts in this county, 25 percent of them have now reported and with the 25 percent that have reported, Barack Obama has 15,773, Mitt Romney, 14,120. This pencil you see, I don't have a calculator. I did it by hand, 53 percent of the vote for Barack Obama.

Four years ago, he had 54.9 percent of the vote. So Barack Obama seems to be holding his own in this very important county in the state of Virginia. We should tell you the polls closed at 7:00, but there are still people in line all throughout the state of Virginia.

Officials with the state of Virginia say voting could go until 11:00 tonight. The lines are that long. It may take four extra hours to close the polls.

BLITZER: If he holds his own in Virginia, he'll do well because he carried Virginia, John, four years ago by --

KING: Carried Virginia 234,000 was the end count four years ago. We have to send Gary Tuchman a calculator. If you look, this is four years ago. The president won the state 53-47. When you look at the statewide map you think how did that happen? All that red.

John McCain had to win. This is where the population is, up in Northern Virginia. We will watch as this comes in. Again, that's encouraging for the Romney campaign, the red in the close-in exurbs, Lowden County.

They are a little further out from Fairfax. Governor Romney came here yesterday. That's a little bit closer margin than last time. We got a ways to go.

BLITZER: It's 28 percent of the vote.

KING: If you pull it out, simple math. Governor Romney needs it. Governor Romney needs it. Governor Romney needs it.

BLITZER: He needs Florida, Virginia and Ohio. We are getting brand new numbers from Florida straight from election officials. We will go to our reporters in the field in that crucial battleground state.

Plus another big chunk of electoral votes is up for grabs right at the top of the hour, including the swing states of Colorado and Wisconsin. We're live at election watch parties and the presidential candidates' home cities of Chicago and Boston. More results just ahead.


BLITZER: We're ready with another projection in the state of Alabama. We project Mitt Romney is the winner in Alabama with its nine electoral votes. Very early in the actual count, but you see 59 percent so far with 1 percent of the vote in for Romney, 41 percent for President Obama. It's very early in the actual count, but we have enough information to project that Romney will carry Alabama. So where do we stand on the road to 270? Romney has a slight lead, 82 electoral votes. We project he has, compared to 64 for President Obama.

The yellow states are the undeclared states, the states we have not yet made projections in. The red states are the states that the Republican nominee has won, the blue states, the president of the United States.

Let's show you some actual votes, where we stand right now. First in Florida, almost 60 percent of the vote is in and the president continues to maintain a slight advantage, 51 percent to 49 percent. He's got an advantage of 110,000 votes.

Look at this, more than five million votes have been counted already, 29 electoral votes in Florida. In Virginia, approaching a third of the vote now in, Mitt Romney continuing to maintain his lead in Virginia, 55 percent to 43 percent. More than a million votes have been counted. Mitt Romney has an advantage of 143 votes right now.

Let's take a look at some other votes that are coming in. Let's begin in Ohio right now. Approaching almost 25 percent, 22 percent of the vote is in, in Ohio, the president still maintaining a significant lead, just changed, 57 percent to 41 percent, 200,000 plus advantage so far, 22 percent of the vote is in. Ohio, 18 electoral votes are critical.

In Pennsylvania, very early, barely votes have been counted, only 1 percent. You see 165 lead for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama, but it's very early for those 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania. Let's go over to John King at the magic wall. You're doing some research over there. What are you looking at?

KING: Looking at some exit polls. You saw that very close Florida race. I'm trying to get a sense of what's key here. Let's look at the vote by age in the state of Florida. Then we'll map it out. The youth voters are a key piece of the president's coalition.

Two-thirds of them going for President Obama in the 18 to 29- year-old group right there, 67 percent to 31 percent for Governor Romney. Let's come down the other end of the spectrum, voters age 65 and older, big Republican constituency, critical for Governor Romney.

Let's see what the margin is here. Governor Romney winning them probably not by the number he would probably like that to be a six, not a 58, but 58 percent of those 65 or older going for Governor Romney if you look at the key age groups.

The largest age group is this group here that went for Governor Romney, a very competitive election in the state of Florida. Wolf, when you have the key subgroups so close, that's why when you come here and pull out the map, 51-49, we got a ways to go, 60 percent of the vote in.

BLITZER: You know what? I want to go to John Zarrella because he's in Palm Beach County right now. Lot of history in presidential elections in Palm Beach County, John, what are you seeing?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's for sure, Wolf. What we are seeing is that the president needed to run up big, big numbers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Heavily Democratic counties that he did very well in 2008, helped him win the state.

What we're seeing at first blush here, not a lot of precincts reporting. The president, 273,000 to 167,000 in Miami-Dade. In Broward, the president, 310,000 to 128,000 for Romney. In Palm Beach County, 261,000 for the president, 171,000 for Mitt Romney. So he's getting good numbers.

Where we are here, Wolf, you can see we're at the tabulation center. Behind me there, these were people who were tabulating the absentee ballots here. They have been told to go home for the night. These were the ballots they had problems with, 35,000 were sent out with an error on them so they would not go through the scanner.

What they've had to do here is duplicate the bad ballots to the good ballots before they put them through the scanners. Democratic Party and Republican Party representatives have been here for two weeks, that's where they have been standing back behind these cameras here, that's where they have been working.

Now, canvassing board, if there were problems with ballots, right over here, that's where the canvassing board was meeting. They rejected, they told us, about 200 ballots primarily because those absentee ballots had not been signed. That's one of the big problems we're having, 800 of them rejected in Broward -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I don't know why they still have these problems in this day and age. Let's go back to John King. Why do they always have problems in Palm Beach County counting votes? You would think they could get their act together.

KING: There are certain places in the country that seem to rejoin us every two to four years. You would think they would get their act together. You would think they would think you know what, we've been a problem child. We need to fix this.

Want to show you a few things. I will circle areas up here. I will circle areas up here. Look, this, the president seems to be keeping his margins down here. It's a place where Governor Romney, Jewish voters, older voters, Mitt Romney hoped to squeeze the margins.

At the moment we still don't see it. Want to go back in time just to show you. This is 2012. You're watching the map start to fill in. Not all the percentages are in. If you go to 77 percent here, Mitt Romney running it up so he will win this county.

The question is did he get turnout but look at the map. How do you win a close competitive swing state? Remember, when the president won this four years ago, it was among the closest, 51-48. See the blue here? See the blue here?

When George W. Bush won before, red here. Right now, the Tampa area, Hillsborough County is one of the big defining differences. We'll watch the rest of the margins as we come in. When the vote tally starts to get up to where it is right now, you start to get a little nervous.

BLITZER: Look at how close, 2,700,000, 2,600,000, very, very close so far with 61 percent of the vote in. I want to check back with Anderson and Dana for an update on the balance of power in the Senate. Anderson, what are you seeing?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Interesting results in Senate races.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Let's look at the first one, the state of Connecticut. This is the race to replace retiring independent Senator Joe Lieberman. The Democrat has won so it's effectively still in Democratic hands. Chris Murphy beat Linda McMahon who spent $50 million this time, $50 million two years ago --

COOPER: She has the world wrestling money.

BASH: Lost about $100 million to two losing campaigns. In New Jersey, Robert Menendez easily going on to win re-election, he of course, is a Democrat. But those are the ones we can call.

The ones that are too close to call or we don't have enough information about are still fascinating. We want to talk about these because they are Republican-held seats. First, the marquee race we are watching in Massachusetts. The incumbent Republican Scott Brown up against his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, only 5 percent reporting at this point. She's about 5,000 votes ahead.

In Indiana, we're still watching this, just changing as we watch it. Joe Donnelly is still ahead with almost 50 percent reporting. This is a seat that if Republicans lose, it is an early tell-tale sign they are not going to be able to retake control of the Senate. Let's look at the balance of power at this hour.

Right now, 38 Republican seats, 37 Democratic seats, You see these two purple seats right here, for the two independents. One is for Bernie Sanders of Vermont who won re-election tonight. The other is more towards the middle.

That's because that's Angus king, the newly elected independent senator of Maine. All of these white seats in the middle are still those that are outstanding, those that are up for re-election right now. Of course, still, neither has even close to the 51 needed to have the full-out majority of the Senate.

COOPER: A lot of races to find out about. Thanks very much. We will check in with our analysts. Van Jones, you've been looking at the wait times a lot of folks are having. We see them in Virginia. We see them a lot in Florida, lot of people still on line.

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA SPECIAL ADVISOR: The numbers are important, but there is a human drama that is playing out on the ground in these states. People are now afraid they may have to wait until tomorrow.

These lines may be four hours long. You look at Twitter, a hash tag, stay in line, is starting to move. Obama, his fate in Florida may hang on people's willingness to stay in line. It shouldn't take this type of heroism to vote in America in 2012. I don't understand what's going on.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: This is happening in Florida. This is happening in Virginia. You're seeing people saying polls will stay open until midnight in Virginia potentially. There apparently two-hour lines in the panhandle --

COOPER: Why is it taking so long to vote? James?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: From what I see so far, and it's not conclusive, I would rather be Obama than Romney. Let me give you an example. Chesterfield County, suburban Richmond, went 54 percent for McCain, but three-quarters of the vote in, it's going the same number for Governor Romney, it went 63 percent for Bush.

Now, if this is indicative of something else, you have to make it up somewhere else and the stuff we see in Florida, it seems to be more favorable for Obama, but it's early and it could change.

COOPER: OK, let's check back in with Wolf.

BLITZER: Thanks. Florida, of course, very, very close presidential battleground. Let's check the latest numbers that are coming in. You can see right now how close it is, 62 percent of the vote has now been counted, 50 percent for the president, 49 percent for Mitt Romney.

You see more than five million votes have been counted. Barack Obama has an advantage of nearly 100,000 votes, 95,991, to be precise so it's close in Florida with 62 percent of the vote in, the president maintaining a slight advantage.

We're only minutes away from the second biggest round of poll closings, the battlegrounds of Colorado, Wisconsin. They are on the line. We're live there. And in New York, where the polls are about to close as well, voters are gathered for CNN's watch party right now in Times Square.


BLITZER: Check out the scene on the Las Vegas strip right now as people watch the vote results coming in on CNN on this election night in America.

We want to welcome back our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. Just minutes from now, we'll get the second largest wave of poll closings in 14 states.

They are Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, also they're closing in North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming, 156, 156 electoral votes are at stake in this coming hour. Remember, 270 are needed to win the presidency. Let's check in with Jessica Yellin in Chicago with the president, Candy Crowley with Romney in Boston. Jessica, first to you. What's the mood over there?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a sense of nervous anticipation here in Obama's headquarters in Chicago, where people have now been let in the doors, the music is playing and there is a sense of optimism with the returns they have seen as they await the results and the president's arrival later this evening.

BLITZER: What about in Boston, Candy? What's it like there?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's beginning to pick up as far as the crowd is concerned but I can tell you as they're watching this over at headquarters where they have people still working the phones trying to get folks out.

We had a quick briefing, if you will, to this crowd from a Romney spokesperson who said listen, we really like how it's looking in Florida, we like how it's looking in Ohio and we like how it's looking in Virginia. They're also nervous, I can tell you that.

BLITZER: They should be. They should all be nervous right now as we watch what's going on. Let's check in with Anderson.

COOPER: As we count down to the top of the hour, we're paying close attention to the battleground states, Colorado and Wisconsin. Wisconsin, of course, is the home of republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. We have correspondents standing by in both states. Let's start with Kyung Lah in Littleton, Colorado right now -- Kyung.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, you can see a cart wheeling by me. Those are ballots that continue to be tabulated. Polls in this battleground county, a must-win county, we just heard almost 70 percent have been tabulated. We expect to know very soon how this county is leaning -- Anderson.

COOPER: Let's check in also with Paul Vercammen in Boulder, Colorado. What's the situation there?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Boulder, Colorado, Boulder County went significantly for Obama, 72 percent in 2008. The Romney strategy is to put a dent in some of these counties, not withstand just severe body blows.

We should have Boulder numbers momentarily and throughout the rest of Colorado. One hint here, the Republicans on the ground think they are doing better in neighboring Adams County and may even win that. We have to watch that tonight -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, and our Ted Rowlands is standing by in Milwaukee -- Ted.

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Milwaukee County, by far the largest population center in Wisconsin, both sides looking at this very closely. We don't have a John King magic wall here, but we have the old school wooden wall which separates this county out. We will get the results in realtime as they come into here. We will share them with our viewers.

COOPER: Wow. John King, look at that old school. Imagine that. You should send him one of your walls.

KING: No, nothing wrong with old school, Anderson. But we like new school magic. Let's take a look at these elections. In Colorado, 29 percent of the Denver suburbs, the Romney campaign will like this, 38 percent of the more conservative areas.

As you move to Wisconsin, 51 percent, more than half the voters in Wisconsin approve the bailout of the auto makers. Is this a problem for Governor Romney? We'll see in the hour ahead, 52 percent in the state of Wisconsin have a favorable opinion of the GOP vice presidential nominee who calls their state home, Paul Ryan. The question is, Wolf, how will it play out when they make their vote?

BLITZER: We are getting closer and closer to the top of the hour. Only seconds away from some major projections. I want all of our viewers to get ready right now. Here they come.