Obama sweeps to victory in U.S. election

Democratic senator Barack Obama has triumphed in the race for the White House after beating Republican rival John McCain. He will become America’s 44th President after passing the necessary winning post of 270 Electoral College votes.

Although not all the votes are in, with Alaska’s final results due to be revealed at approximately 06:00 GMT, Obama has taken a significant majority and secured his place as the next resident of the White House.

Democrat Barack Obama opened a lead in his bid to become the first African-American U.S. president on Tuesday night, moving ahead of Republican John McCain in a nation clamouring for change.

During his victory speech in Chicago, Obama said: “I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you. But this victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only a chance for us to make that change. It can’t happen without you. So let us

Obama and his family (AFP Photo / Stan Honda)
Obama and his family (AFP Photo / Stan Honda)
summon a new spirit – of patriotism and of responsibility.”

To watch an excerpt from Barack Obama's victory speech, please follow the link

Obama grabbed well expected victories in traditionally Democratic states in the East and Midwest and jumped ahead in fragmentary returns from Pennsylvania, a state where his rival invested heavily in hopes of winning in traditionally inhospitable territory.

Commenting on Obama’s victory, McCain said: “The American people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly. A while ago I had the honour of calling Senator Barack Obama to congratulate him on being elected the next President of the country that we both love.”

McCain countered in several traditionally Republican states.

Initial results show that Obama has won Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, Maine, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, as well as the District of Columbia.

McCain has struck back in North Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Caroline and Alabama.    

Meanwhile, interviews with voterssuggested that almost six in 10 women were backing Obama, and men leaned his way by a narrow margin. Just over half of whites supported McCain, giving him a slim advantage in a group that President Bush carried overwhelmingly in 2004.