Most of America's 50 states are dependably Democratic or reliably Republican.
Less than a dozen states, however, remain undecided. It's in these states - variously described as battleground, swing, toss-up, bellwether, pivotal or purple states - that Mr Barack Obama and Mr Mitt Romney are fighting the keenest battles of the 2012 presidential race.
Victories here will enable one of them to clinch the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the White House.
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