Fox News now projects that Barack Obama will win the state of New Hampshire.

As we await the results of the 2012 presidential election, get continuing updates on the standings of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the state of New Hampshire, with latest polls, political facts, figures, stories and commentary.

8p ET UPDATE: Polls have closed in New Hampshire, but the race is still too close to call.

Update: One of the earliest polls to open in New Hampshire (Dixville Notch) was reporting a 5-5 tie between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Joining Fox and Friends to discuss the possible outcomes for the entire state was Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who believes Romney will take the electoral votes. “I feel really good about Mitt Romney winning New Hampshire today,” she said.

Update: Results are coming in from two small towns in New Hampshire, Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, which traditionally cast the first ballots on Election Day. Dixville Notch is reporting a 5-5 tie between the candidates, while Hart's Location has tallied 23 votes for President Obama and 9 for Governor Mitt Romney. Both towns opened their polls to voters at midnight, the earliest in the nation.

Current Standing Among Likely Voters:
Barack Obama: 48.8%
Mitt Romney: 47.5%

Poll Times:
First Polls Open: 12:00a ET
Last Polls Close: 8:00p ET

2008 Election Results:
Obama - 384,826 votes - 54.13%
McCain - 316,534 votes - 44.52%
Other - 9,610 votes - 1.35%

New Hampshire is the smallest of the battleground states, with just four electoral votes.

The state's small delegate count would seem inconsequential in a presidential contest, but the race for electoral votes is extremely close. Every elector counts, and New Hampshire has four of them.

Both sides are acutely aware of its potential to alter the outcome if the national contest is tight.

They point to 2000, when Gore lost New Hampshire by just 7,000 votes to Bush. Had Gore prevailed in New Hampshire, he would have had the 270 votes needed to win the election and the famously disputed Florida vote would not have determined the race.

New Hampshire's role in electoral college calculations is secondary to that of Ohio, Virginia and Florida. But one particular election scenario is telling: If Romney can win those three states, along with North Carolina, he would need only New Hampshire's four votes to win the White House if other states vote as predicted.

In 2008, the race was not very tight. After losing the 2008 New Hampshire primary to Clinton, Obama won New Hampshire in the general election by 9 points, a relatively easy victory compared with the slender margins that marked the two previous elections. In 2000, Bush won the state by one point over Gore. Four years later, Bush lost the state to Kerry by a point. New Hampshire was the only state that year that switched from Republican to Democrat.

New Hampshire has followed the national results in eight of the last 10 presidential elections, backing the losing candidate in 1976, when the state went for President Ford over Jimmy Carter, and 2004, when New Hampshire narrowly backed Kerry over Bush.

Since that 2004 race, New Hampshire has seen dramatic swings in its state elections. Democrats made a huge sweep in state races in 2006, dominating the legislature after years of Republican control. Two years ago, state Republicans stormed their way back into power, although popular Democratic Gov. John Lynch was reelected.

In primary elections, New Hampshire's electorate is notoriously fickle, capable of shifts in the polls in the final days before the voting. Even in a general election like this one, many voters, especially the sizable independent bloc, may wait until the very end before deciding how they will vote.

The live-free-or-die state, where residents pay the lowest taxes in the nation and can openly carry a gun into the statehouse, is known for its stubborn independent streak.

Although Obama is vulnerable nationally because of the economy, economic issues may hurt him less here. New Hampshire did not feel the pain of the recession as much as other states. Its unemployment rate as of September was just 5.7 percent, unchanged from August, when it was tied for the seventh-lowest in the country.

Romney's focus on jobs may not fully resonate in New Hampshire.