NEW YORK CITY, NY (CBS) -- Times Square erupted in celebration on Tuesday night (November 6) after projections indicated that U.S. President Barack Obama was the likely winner of another four years in office.
Hundreds of onlookers gathered in New York City's famous square to watch the projected results appear on the big screens and news tickers which surround the so-called "Crossroads of the World".
"The energy here is really exciting and it's a lot of fun just being here and I think we're making history. Four more years is really exciting. I think it's just awesome. It's going to be great," one onlooker, Britney Nielsen, from North Dakota, said after hearing the news.
"I'm very excited about that. I was pretty nervous about the election -- more than I was four years ago, but I'm very excited and I'm very relieved," said Christina Flores, who lives in New York.
For others the news signaled a promise that things would stay "on track".
"I think that this is a really important step in the progress of the U.S. especially in this like healthcare and ...it's very much a relief. We want to keep our country on track and I think that that's the way to do it," explained Jennifer Gottesfeld from Los Angeles.
"I'm just happy to have Obama keep going for another four years and try to keep the long term plan that he's been talking about, so hopefully we'll see some real progress," New Yorker, Jason Levine, added.
Obama defeated Republican candidate Mitt Romney in a series of key swing states despite a weak economic recovery and persistent high unemployment as U.S. voters decided between two starkly different visions for the country.
Obama's narrow wins in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire - all states that Romney had contested - effectively ended Romney's hopes of capturing the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the White House.
At least 120 million American voters were expected to cast votes in the race between the Democratic incumbent and Romney after a campaign focused on how to repair the ailing U.S. economy.
Obama would be entering his second four-year term faced with a difficult task of tackling $1 trillion U.S. dollar annual deficits, reducing a $16 trillion U.S. dollar national debt, overhauling expensive social programs and dealing with a gridlocked U.S. Congress that looked likely to maintain the same partisan makeup.