Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Obama Rolling on to Brink of History; Record Poll Expected in US Elections IRISH VILLAGERS CERTAIN WHO VICTOR WILL BE

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Obama Rolling on to Brink of History; Record Poll Expected in US Elections IRISH VILLAGERS CERTAIN WHO VICTOR WILL BE

Article excerpt

Byline: Wesley Johnson

BARACK Obama was on course to make history last night by becoming the first black president of the United States.

Millions of Americans joined long queues around the country as they prepared to vote for a new era in US politics. A record high turnout of 130 million people was expected to vote for the 44th president of the United States, with 30 million having already cast their ballots.

Front runner Obama, who appeared to wipe tears from his cheeks on the campaign trail yesterday following the death of his grandmother, joined the nation's earliest voters yesterday in Chicago.

His Republican rival John McCain voted later at a church near his home in Phoenix, Arizona. He stepped out of a car with wife Cindy as a small crowd cheered "Go, John, go!" and "We love you!"

One person carried a sign that read "Use your brain, vote McCain!"

Both candidates were planning last-minute campaign stops to try to woo any Americans still undecided after a hard-fought, almost two-year campaign which is estimated to have cost pounds 1.5bn.

"I voted," Mr Obama told reporters as he held up the validation slip he was handed after turning in a ballot at his Chicago neighbourhood's precinct of Hyde Park.

The 47-year-old Illinois senator was accompanied by his wife Michelle and young daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, seven. In his final rally in Virginia, which has not voted for a Democratic presidential nominee in 44 years, he told almost 100,000 people: "I'm feeling kind of fired up, like I'm ready to go."

Mr Obama led by almost eight points in the latest average of national polls by RealClearPolitics.com but Mr McCain remained hopeful of a surprise victory.

"I think these battleground states have now closed up, almost all of them, and I believe there's a good scenario where we can win," he said.

But it was a bitter-sweet day for Mr Obama whose 86-year-old grandmother Madelyn Dunham, who helped raise him and was frequently mentioned at key points in the race for the White House, died of cancer on Sunday night. …

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