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Election 2012: Swing States to (once again) Decide the Presidency

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UPDATE 8:22 p.m. -- Barack Obama wins the election, multiple sources report.

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Like the worn-out cliché, "As goes Ohio, so goes the Nation," the next President of the United States will once again be decided by a handful of states.

It's a byproduct of the much-maligned electoral college; a system that often leaves the rest of the world scratching its head, but is undoubtedly and integral part of the American republic.

From Florida and Virginia to Ohio and North Carolina, a victory in any battleground state is a coveted prize for a candidate. However for GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the path to the magic number of 270 electoral votes relies heavily on winning most of these contests.

As precincts across the country race to tally the results from today's nationwide vote, here are the nine major swing states still in play:

Colorado
Florida
Iowa
Nevada
New Hampshire
North Carolina
Ohio
Virginia
Wisconsin

True, many races are still too close to call. With a rising number of absentee voters, it's not farfetched to predict that results in some states may take weeks to determine. But there are states that have been safe to call for both candidates for months and arguably longer.

Solid Republican-leaning States:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Mississippi
Montana
Nebraska
North Dakota
Oklahoma
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
West Virginia
Wyoming

Solid Democrat-leaning States:

California
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Hawaii
Illinois
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
New York
New Jersey
New Mexico
Oregon
Rhode Island
Vermont
Washington
Wisconsin

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