Barack Obama heading for the White House

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Washington, Nov 05: Barack Obama is heading for a big win in the US Presidential poll with th Democrat leading in the count of 270 electoral votes against Republican rival John McCain in the states where the voting ended today.

Barack Obama is projected to have won two key battleground states, putting him within sight of the presidency. His projected win in Ohio, won by the Republicans in 2004, is a crucial stepping stone to the White House. He also took Pennsylvania - one of John McCain's main targets. Mr Obama now needs only to win California and a couple of other solid Democratic states. Analysts said anything else would be a major shock. Mr Obama is hoping to become the first black president of the United States.

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Latest Electoral college votes

Barack Obama (Democrat)-207

John McCain (Republican)-141

Democrat Barack Obama: 207

Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), District of Columbia (3), Illinois (21), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), New Hampshire (4), New Jersey (15), Pennsylvania (21), Vermont (3), New York (31), Minnesota (10), Michigan (17), Wisconsin (10), New Mexico (5), Rhode Island (4), Ohio (20), Iowa (7)

Republican John McCain: 135

Kentucky (8), West Virginia (5), South Carolina (8), Tennessee (11), Oklahoma (7), Alabama (9), Arkansas (6), Georgia (15), Texas (34), Kansas (6), Louisiana (9), Wyoming (3), Utah (5), North Dakota (3), Mississippi (6)

A presidential candidate must get 270 electoral votes out of a possible 538 to win the US election. The 538 members of the Electoral College, not the popular vote, actually elect the president of the United States.

* Mr Obama is projected to have taken: Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Delaware, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Maryland, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey.
* Mr McCain is projected to have won: Kentucky, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama.
* Some US networks have also called West Virginia for John McCain.
* The Democrats made an early gain in the Senate race, with Mark Warner, in Virginia, taking a formerly Republican seat.
* Exit polls suggest the economy was the major deciding factor for six out of 10 voters.
* Nine out of 10 said the candidates' race was not important to their vote, the Associated Press reported. Almost as many said age did not matter.

All of the early results went as expected, and followed the same pattern as in 2004.

But Pennsylvania was significant, because Mr McCain was hoping to score an upset there, and had spent a lot of time campaigning in the state.

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