DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic President Barack Obama won the battleground state of Iowa Tuesday, a hard-fought victory in the state he credits with launching his presidency four years ago.
Obama and Republican Mitt Romney traveled frequently to Iowa and spent millions of dollars on advertising to win Iowa's six electoral votes.
Voters returned two incumbent Democrats and two Republicans to Congress, handing victories to Democrats Bruce Braley and Dave Loebsack, and Republicans Steve King and Tom Latham.
Voters also rebuffed an effort by conservatives to remove another state Supreme Court judge.
In the 3rd Congressional District, eight-term Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell was voted out of a job. He was beat by nine-term incumbent Republican Latham, who moved into the Des Moines-centered district after Iowa lost a seat due to once-a-decade redistricting.
While most polling places saw no issues, large numbers of voters who registered at the polls created long lines in one county and caused a few others to run out of ballots. College students in Cedar Falls and Ames registering to vote for the first time slowed the process, creating a line of several hundred voters in a Cedar Falls precinct.
Up to 45 percent of Iowa voters cast their ballots early. Officials said more than 673,000 residents voted by the end of the day Monday — a nearly 25 percent increase over the 2008 record of just over 545,000.
On Tuesday, an unexpected number of voters registering at the polls in two Madison County precincts caused a ballot shortage. Workers made photocopies to accommodate all voters.
More than half of Iowa voters said the economy is the top issue facing the country, according to preliminary results from exit polling for The Associated Press. The deficit was the top issue for almost one-fifth of voters, the second-biggest group. Their other choices were foreign policy and health care.
Chris Barker, 25, a coffee shop manager from Des Moines said he supported Obama in 2008 and had no reason to switch to Romney.
"The only thing that he actually believes in is he's good enough to be president," Barker said of Romney. "Other than that there's not actually a core thing that Mitt Romney believes in, except that he needs to win, no matter what he has to say or do."
Des Moines real estate appraiser Brett Blanchfield, 37, said he voted for Mitt Romney largely because he thought the Republican will boost the economy.