By NANCY BENAC

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - His lease renewed in trying economic times, President Barack Obama claimed a second term from an incredibly divided electorate and immediately braced for daunting challenges and progress that comes only in fits and starts.

"We have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come," Obama said.

The same voters who gave Obama another four years also elected a divided Congress, re-upping the dynamic that has made it so hard for the president to advance his agenda. Democrats retained control of the Senate; Republicans renewed their majority in the House.

It was a sweet victory for Obama, but nothing like the jubilant celebration of four years earlier, when his hope-and-change election as the nation's first black president captivated the world. This time, Obama ground out his win with a stay-the-course pitch that essentially boiled down to a plea for more time to make things right and a hope that Congress will be more accommodating than in the past.

The vanquished Republican, Mitt Romney, tried to set a more conciliatory tone on the way off the stage.

"At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering," Romney said after a campaign filled with it. "Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work."

House Speaker John Boehner spoke of a dual mandate, saying, "If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground and take steps together to help our economy grow and create jobs."

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had a more harsh assessment.

"The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president's first term," McConnell said. "They have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together" with a balanced Congress.

Obama claimed a commanding electoral mandate - at least 303 electoral votes to 206 for Romney - and had a near-sweep of the nine most hotly contested battleground states.

But the close breakdown in the popular vote showed Americans' differences over how best to meet the nation's challenges. With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, the popular vote went 50 percent for Obama to 48.4 percent for Romney, the businessman-turned-politician who had argued that Obama had failed to turn around the economy and said it was time for a new approach keyed to lower taxes and a less intrusive government.

Obama's re-election assured certainty on some fronts: His signature health-care overhaul will endure, as will the Wall Street reforms enacted after the economic meltdown. The drawdown of troops in Afghanistan will continue apace. And with an aging Supreme Court, the president is likely to have at least one more nomination to the high court.

The challenges immediately ahead for the 44th president are all too familiar: an economy still baby-stepping its way toward full health, 23 million Americans still out of work or in search of better jobs, civil war in Syria, an ominous standoff over Iran's nuclear program, and more.

Sharp differences with Republicans in Congress on taxes, spending, deficit reduction, immigration and more await.

And even before Obama gets to his second inaugural on Jan. 20, he must grapple with the threatened "fiscal cliff" - a combination of automatic tax increases and steep across-the-board spending cuts that are set to take effect in January if Washington doesn't quickly come up with a workaround budget deal. Economists have warned the economy could tip back into recession absent a deal.

Despite long lines at polls in many places, turnout overall looked to be down from four years ago as the president pieced together a winning coalition of women, young people, minorities and lower-income voters that reflected the country's changing demographics. Obama's superior ground organization in the battleground states was key to his success.

The president's victory speech - he'd written a concession, too, just in case - reflected the realities of the rough road ahead.

"By itself the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won't end all the gridlock, or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward," Obama said.

"But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over, and whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you and you have made me a better president."

The president said he hoped to meet with Romney and discuss how they can work together. They may have battled fiercely, he said, "but it's only because we love this country deeply."

Romney's short concession - with misplaced confidence, he'd only prepared an acceptance speech - was a gracious end note after a grueling campaign.

He wished the president's family well and told subdued supporters in Boston, "I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader and so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation."

Obama's re-election was a remarkable achievement given that Americans are anything but enthusiastic about the state they're in: Only about 4 in 10 voters thought the economy is getting better, just one quarter thought they're better off financially than four years ago and a little more than half think the country is on the wrong track, exit polls showed.

But even now, four years after George W. Bush left office, voters were more likely to blame Bush than Obama for the fix they're in.

It wasn't just the president and Congress who were on the ballot. Voters around the country considered ballot measures on a number of divisive social issues, with Maine and Maryland becoming the first states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote while Washington state and Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana.

From the beginning, Obama had an easier path than Romney to the 270 electoral votes needed for victory. The most expensive campaign in history was narrowly targeted at people in nine battleground states that held the key to victory, and the two sides drenched voters there with more than a million ads, the overwhelming share of them negative.

Obama claimed at least seven of the battleground states, most notably Ohio, the Ground Zero of campaign 2012. He also got Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin, and he was ahead in Florida. Romney got North Carolina.

Overall, Obama won 25 states and the District of Columbia and was leading in too-close-to-call Florida. Romney won 24 states.

It was a more measured victory than four years ago, when Obama claimed 365 electoral votes to McCain's 173, winning with 53 percent of the popular vote.

Obama was judged by 53 percent of voters to be more in touch with people like them. More good news for him: Six in 10 voters said that taxes should be increased. And nearly half of voters said taxes should be increased on income over $250,000, as Obama has called for.

Obama's list of promises to keep includes many holdovers he was unable to deliver on in his first term: rolling back tax cuts for upper-income people, immigration reform, reducing federal deficits, and more.

A second term is sure to produce turnover in his Cabinet: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has made it clear he wants to leave at the end of Obama's first term but is expected to remain in the post until a successor is confirmed. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama's rival for the presidency four years ago, is ready to leave too. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta isn't expected to stay on.

To the end, the presidential race was a nail-biter. About 1 in 10 voters said they'd only settled on their presidential choice within the last few days or even on Election Day, and they were closely divided between Obama and Romney. Nearly 1 percent of voters went for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, who was on the ballot in 48 states.
Adams

25 of 25 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,800 - 29 percent

x-Romney, GOP 8,936 - 69 percent

Johnson, Lib 262 - 2 percent



Allen

327 of 327 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 59,834 - 41 percent

x-Romney, GOP 84,378 - 58 percent

Johnson, Lib 2,193 - 1 percent



Bartholomew

66 of 66 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 10,622 - 36 percent

x-Romney, GOP 18,083 - 62 percent

Johnson, Lib 608 - 2 percent



Benton

15 of 15 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 1,159 - 32 percent

x-Romney, GOP 2,329 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 89 - 2 percent



Blackford

12 of 12 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 1,927 - 41 percent

x-Romney, GOP 2,710 - 57 percent

Johnson, Lib 103 - 2 percent



Boone

53 of 53 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 8,326 - 30 percent

x-Romney, GOP 18,807 - 68 percent

Johnson, Lib 592 - 2 percent



Brown

12 of 12 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,056 - 40 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,330 - 57 percent

Johnson, Lib 204 - 3 percent



Carroll

19 of 19 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,631 - 34 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,993 - 64 percent

Johnson, Lib 169 - 2 percent



Cass

39 of 39 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 5,365 - 38 percent

x-Romney, GOP 8,432 - 60 percent

Johnson, Lib 340 - 2 percent



Clark

72 of 72 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 20,775 - 44 percent

x-Romney, GOP 25,422 - 54 percent

Johnson, Lib 865 - 2 percent



Clay

22 of 23 precincts - 96 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,630 - 33 percent

x-Romney, GOP 7,065 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 227 - 2 percent



Clinton

39 of 39 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,307 - 33 percent

x-Romney, GOP 6,338 - 64 percent

Johnson, Lib 234 - 2 percent



Crawford

18 of 18 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,040 - 44 percent

x-Romney, GOP 2,418 - 53 percent

Johnson, Lib 128 - 3 percent



Daviess

28 of 28 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,437 - 24 percent

x-Romney, GOP 7,638 - 75 percent

Johnson, Lib 171 - 2 percent



Dearborn

44 of 45 precincts - 98 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 6,387 - 29 percent

x-Romney, GOP 15,216 - 69 percent

Johnson, Lib 422 - 2 percent



Decatur

20 of 20 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,941 - 29 percent

x-Romney, GOP 7,119 - 69 percent

Johnson, Lib 243 - 2 percent



DeKalb

39 of 39 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 5,419 - 33 percent

x-Romney, GOP 10,586 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 309 - 2 percent



Delaware

78 of 78 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 22,630 - 50 percent

x-Romney, GOP 21,231 - 47 percent

Johnson, Lib 1,063 - 2 percent



Dubois

40 of 40 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 6,522 - 35 percent

x-Romney, GOP 11,654 - 63 percent

Johnson, Lib 366 - 2 percent



Elkhart

117 of 117 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 23,949 - 36 percent

x-Romney, GOP 41,467 - 62 percent

Johnson, Lib 1,028 - 2 percent



Fayette

28 of 28 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,553 - 40 percent

x-Romney, GOP 5,044 - 57 percent

Johnson, Lib 219 - 2 percent



Floyd

60 of 60 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 14,805 - 42 percent

x-Romney, GOP 19,868 - 56 percent

Johnson, Lib 610 - 2 percent



Fountain

18 of 18 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,233 - 31 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,660 - 66 percent

Johnson, Lib 210 - 3 percent



Franklin

23 of 23 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,907 - 28 percent

x-Romney, GOP 7,421 - 70 percent

Johnson, Lib 221 - 2 percent



Fulton

17 of 17 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,621 - 32 percent

x-Romney, GOP 5,315 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 184 - 2 percent



Gibson

34 of 34 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,928 - 33 percent

x-Romney, GOP 9,487 - 64 percent

Johnson, Lib 303 - 2 percent



Grant

63 of 63 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 9,516 - 38 percent

x-Romney, GOP 15,088 - 60 percent

Johnson, Lib 517 - 2 percent



Greene

32 of 32 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,340 - 33 percent

x-Romney, GOP 8,457 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 304 - 2 percent



Hamilton

203 of 203 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 43,794 - 32 percent

x-Romney, GOP 90,740 - 66 percent

Johnson, Lib 2,269 - 2 percent



Hancock

40 of 43 precincts - 93 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 8,526 - 28 percent

x-Romney, GOP 21,053 - 70 percent

Johnson, Lib 654 - 2 percent



Harrison

39 of 39 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 6,600 - 37 percent

x-Romney, GOP 10,629 - 60 percent

Johnson, Lib 417 - 2 percent



Hendricks

103 of 103 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 21,100 - 32 percent

x-Romney, GOP 44,308 - 67 percent

Johnson, Lib 1,182 - 2 percent



Henry

41 of 41 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 7,613 - 40 percent

x-Romney, GOP 10,836 - 57 percent

Johnson, Lib 547 - 3 percent



Howard

72 of 72 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 15,097 - 42 percent

x-Romney, GOP 20,284 - 56 percent

Johnson, Lib 813 - 2 percent



Huntington

36 of 36 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,596 - 29 percent

x-Romney, GOP 10,862 - 69 percent

Johnson, Lib 295 - 2 percent



Jackson

30 of 30 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 5,838 - 35 percent

x-Romney, GOP 10,419 - 62 percent

Johnson, Lib 447 - 3 percent



Jasper

29 of 29 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,672 - 36 percent

x-Romney, GOP 7,955 - 62 percent

Johnson, Lib 264 - 2 percent



Jay

18 of 18 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,063 - 39 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,643 - 59 percent

Johnson, Lib 191 - 2 percent



Jefferson

26 of 26 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 5,728 - 44 percent

x-Romney, GOP 7,096 - 54 percent

Johnson, Lib 296 - 2 percent



Jennings

25 of 25 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,818 - 37 percent

x-Romney, GOP 6,112 - 60 percent

Johnson, Lib 307 - 3 percent



Johnson

135 of 135 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 17,080 - 30 percent

x-Romney, GOP 39,136 - 68 percent

Johnson, Lib 1,146 - 2 percent



Knox

36 of 36 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 5,228 - 35 percent

x-Romney, GOP 9,612 - 63 percent

Johnson, Lib 305 - 2 percent



Kosciusko

69 of 69 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 6,862 - 23 percent

x-Romney, GOP 22,553 - 75 percent

Johnson, Lib 624 - 2 percent



LaGrange

16 of 16 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,897 - 31 percent

x-Romney, GOP 6,227 - 67 percent

Johnson, Lib 187 - 2 percent



Lake

530 of 530 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 130,824 - 65 percent

x-Romney, GOP 68,397 - 34 percent

Johnson, Lib 2,427 - 1 percent



LaPorte

84 of 84 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 24,104 - 55 percent

x-Romney, GOP 18,609 - 43 percent

Johnson, Lib 944 - 2 percent



Lawrence

40 of 40 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 5,779 - 32 percent

x-Romney, GOP 11,622 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 421 - 2 percent



Madison

112 of 112 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 24,404 - 47 percent

x-Romney, GOP 26,755 - 51 percent

Johnson, Lib 1,181 - 2 percent



Marion

600 of 600 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 215,428 - 60 percent

x-Romney, GOP 136,102 - 38 percent

Johnson, Lib 6,137 - 2 percent



Marshall

30 of 30 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 6,136 - 35 percent

x-Romney, GOP 11,260 - 63 percent

Johnson, Lib 355 - 2 percent



Martin

18 of 18 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 1,351 - 28 percent

x-Romney, GOP 3,262 - 69 percent

Johnson, Lib 129 - 3 percent



Miami

31 of 31 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,220 - 33 percent

x-Romney, GOP 8,163 - 64 percent

Johnson, Lib 375 - 3 percent



Monroe

82 of 82 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 19,529 - 56 percent

x-Romney, GOP 14,580 - 42 percent

Johnson, Lib 983 - 3 percent



Montgomery

27 of 27 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,244 - 30 percent

x-Romney, GOP 9,768 - 68 percent

Johnson, Lib 337 - 2 percent



Morgan

54 of 54 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 7,969 - 28 percent

x-Romney, GOP 19,591 - 69 percent

Johnson, Lib 691 - 2 percent



Newton

18 of 18 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,212 - 39 percent

x-Romney, GOP 3,291 - 58 percent

Johnson, Lib 149 - 3 percent



Noble

29 of 29 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 5,229 - 32 percent

x-Romney, GOP 10,680 - 66 percent

Johnson, Lib 335 - 2 percent



Ohio

11 of 11 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 992 - 35 percent

x-Romney, GOP 1,757 - 62 percent

Johnson, Lib 63 - 2 percent



Orange

22 of 22 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,939 - 38 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,615 - 60 percent

Johnson, Lib 199 - 3 percent



Owen

18 of 18 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,823 - 35 percent

x-Romney, GOP 5,062 - 62 percent

Johnson, Lib 222 - 3 percent



Parke

17 of 17 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,106 - 32 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,228 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 170 - 3 percent



Perry

21 of 21 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,314 - 55 percent

x-Romney, GOP 3,403 - 43 percent

Johnson, Lib 149 - 2 percent



Pike

18 of 18 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,125 - 36 percent

x-Romney, GOP 3,627 - 61 percent

Johnson, Lib 172 - 3 percent



Porter

123 of 123 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 36,950 - 51 percent

x-Romney, GOP 34,197 - 47 percent

Johnson, Lib 1,340 - 2 percent



Posey

34 of 34 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,531 - 37 percent

x-Romney, GOP 7,427 - 61 percent

Johnson, Lib 258 - 2 percent



Pulaski

15 of 15 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 1,899 - 35 percent

x-Romney, GOP 3,366 - 62 percent

Johnson, Lib 134 - 2 percent



Putnam

31 of 31 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,504 - 33 percent

x-Romney, GOP 9,004 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 305 - 2 percent



Randolph

18 of 18 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,768 - 37 percent

x-Romney, GOP 6,218 - 61 percent

Johnson, Lib 202 - 2 percent



Ripley

27 of 27 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,241 - 30 percent

x-Romney, GOP 7,484 - 68 percent

Johnson, Lib 257 - 2 percent



Rush

20 of 20 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,221 - 32 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,633 - 66 percent

Johnson, Lib 172 - 2 percent



St. Joseph

221 of 221 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 56,408 - 51 percent

x-Romney, GOP 52,479 - 47 percent

Johnson, Lib 1,609 - 1 percent



Scott

16 of 16 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,998 - 46 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,539 - 52 percent

Johnson, Lib 179 - 2 percent



Shelby

40 of 40 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 5,357 - 32 percent

x-Romney, GOP 10,972 - 66 percent

Johnson, Lib 414 - 2 percent



Spencer

25 of 25 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,026 - 41 percent

x-Romney, GOP 5,515 - 57 percent

Johnson, Lib 184 - 2 percent



Starke

21 of 21 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,809 - 44 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,738 - 54 percent

Johnson, Lib 205 - 2 percent



Steuben

19 of 19 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,846 - 35 percent

x-Romney, GOP 8,542 - 62 percent

Johnson, Lib 289 - 2 percent



Sullivan

19 of 19 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,191 - 38 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,902 - 59 percent

Johnson, Lib 196 - 2 percent



Switzerland

12 of 12 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 1,437 - 42 percent

x-Romney, GOP 1,872 - 55 percent

Johnson, Lib 88 - 3 percent



Tippecanoe

116 of 116 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 26,642 - 47 percent

x-Romney, GOP 28,708 - 51 percent

Johnson, Lib 1,346 - 2 percent



Tipton

15 of 15 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,432 - 33 percent

x-Romney, GOP 4,773 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 159 - 2 percent



Union

10 of 10 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 1,018 - 33 percent

x-Romney, GOP 2,022 - 65 percent

Johnson, Lib 59 - 2 percent



Vanderburgh

132 of 136 precincts - 97 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 31,659 - 44 percent

x-Romney, GOP 39,504 - 55 percent

Johnson, Lib 1,253 - 2 percent



Vermillion

17 of 17 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 2,979 - 45 percent

x-Romney, GOP 3,426 - 52 percent

Johnson, Lib 173 - 3 percent



Vigo

87 of 87 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 19,707 - 49 percent

x-Romney, GOP 19,368 - 49 percent

Johnson, Lib 768 - 2 percent



Wabash

26 of 26 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,929 - 31 percent

x-Romney, GOP 8,528 - 67 percent

Johnson, Lib 245 - 2 percent



Warren

13 of 13 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 1,324 - 35 percent

x-Romney, GOP 2,377 - 63 percent

Johnson, Lib 97 - 3 percent



Warrick

59 of 59 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 8,791 - 36 percent

x-Romney, GOP 15,350 - 62 percent

Johnson, Lib 486 - 2 percent



Washington

21 of 21 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,909 - 36 percent

x-Romney, GOP 6,532 - 61 percent

Johnson, Lib 284 - 3 percent



Wayne

58 of 58 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 10,591 - 42 percent

x-Romney, GOP 14,321 - 56 percent

Johnson, Lib 546 - 2 percent



Wells

22 of 22 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,434 - 27 percent

x-Romney, GOP 9,255 - 72 percent

Johnson, Lib 233 - 2 percent



White

19 of 19 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 3,635 - 37 percent

x-Romney, GOP 5,970 - 60 percent

Johnson, Lib 296 - 3 percent



Whitley

34 of 34 precincts - 100 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 4,420 - 29 percent

x-Romney, GOP 10,257 - 68 percent

Johnson, Lib 328 - 2 percent



Totals

5,310 of 5,319 precincts - 99 percent

Obama, Dem (i) 1,135,556 - 44 percent

x-Romney, GOP 1,408,008 - 54 percent

Johnson, Lib 49,672 - 2 percent