Obama tally climbs to 349-163

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : In winning the presidency, Barack Obama not only thumped Republican John McCain in the Electoral College tally, but also handily won the popular vote and redrew the great divide between the Republican and Democrat states.

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Riding a Democratic tide that bolstered the party’s presence in both houses of Congress, Obama snared about 62.8 million votes to McCain’s 55.6 million, according to CNN totals early Wednesday.

By then he had a 349-163 lead over his rival in electoral votes, with only 26 undecided.

According to exit polls, Obama crushed McCain among women voters (56 percent to 43 percent); voters under 30 (66 percent to 32 percent); African-American voters (95 percent to four percent); Latino voters (66 percent to 32 percent); first-time voters (68 percent to 31 percent); and voters making less than $100,000 a year (55 percent to 43 percent).

As the results rolled in Tuesday night, early voting totals in the east suggested things would go traditionally, with McCain taking most of the southeast and Obama most of the northeast, CNN said.

But then things quickly changed, as Obama struck – first in Pennsylvania and then in the midwest state of Ohio, the states McCain had to win in his bid for the Oval Office.

Obama then delivered an uppercut in Virginia, a state that had not voted for a Democratic president since 1964.

As polls closed from east to west, Obama kept hammering McCain, as he snatched away Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada – the states that had been in President George W. Bush’s column in 2004.

And Wednesday morning, Obama added Indiana to the list of states he’d turned from red to blue. Indiana hadn’t voted for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Missouri and North Carolina were still counting votes Wednesday, but it appeared one or two of them could become Democrat state converts as well, CNN said.

With McCain on the ropes, an Obama victory in Florida sounded the death knell.

When Indiana fell into Obama’s column Wednesday morning, he had a 349-163 lead over his rival in electoral votes, with only 26 undecided.