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Who's Winning in Iowa?

As we await the results of the 2012 presidential election, get continuing updates on the standings of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the state of Iowa, with latest polls, political facts, figures, stories and commentary.


ELECTION NIGHT UPDATE, 10:03p ET: Polls close in Iowa, but the race remains too close to call.


Update: Shannon Bream reports live from Des Moines on early voters, the controversy over international poll watchers, and how the issue of same-sex marriage is

back in the minds of voters in Iowa.

Current Standing Among Likely Voters:
Barack Obama: 48.2%
Mitt Romney: 46.0%

Poll Times:
First Polls Open: 8:00a ET
Last Polls Close: 10:00p ET

2008 Election Results:
Obama - 828,940 votes - 53.93%
McCain - 682,379 votes - 44.39%
Other - 25,804 votes - 1.68%

BACKGROUND:
Once a reliably Republican state, Iowa has voted for the Democratic nominee in five of the last six presidential elections.

Iowa's six Electoral College votes figure prominently in many of the scenarios required for Obama or Romney to amass the 270 needed to win.

Obama carried Iowa by 9.5 percent over McCain in 2008, but the Hawkeye State had been the definition of a tossup the two previous elections.

Close margins in 2000 and 2004 indicate that it'll be much tighter than it was during 2008's wave election.

In 2000 and 2004, Iowa swung from Democrat to Republican in races decided by fewer than 11,000 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast.

Bush won Iowa by less than 1 percent in 2004. Bush lost the state to Gore in 2000 by less than 1 percent. And this election is shaping up to be much more like 2000 or 2004 than 2008.

The state knows Romney and Obama well; both competed here in 2008. And Romney came close to winning its caucuses in January.

Republican candidates spent months organizing and attacking Obama in advance of this year's caucuses.

The Hawkeye State holds a special place in Obama's heart— his long-odds caucus win there in 2008 put him on the path to the nomination and the White House.

Iowa's status as a 2012 battleground state has meant a daily bombardment of television and radio ads, door knocks, candidate visits and celebrity events designed to entice laggards — or "highly valuable sporadic voters," as one Obama strategist calls them — to register. Jon Bon Jovi, for example, played concerts in Iowa City and Des Moines in October for the Obama campaign.

Democrats say Obama has benefited from his Iowa strategy of blanketing the state with eight presidential visits ahead of early voting. Obama hoped that his frequent visits, as well as constant appearances by Vice President Biden and first lady Michelle Obama, would help him build a lead over Romney ahead of Election Day, when Republicans traditionally have had an edge.

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