The world's biggest show is kicking off. Never before has a US presidential election been so closely followed from all corners of the world. Our Observers from Beijing to Baghdad tell us what they'll be doing when we find out who will lead the world's superpower.
"The Australians will be following events with a hangover"
Christophe Mallet is a consultant in Melbourne, Australia.The elections are coming a day after a national holiday here - the Melbourne Cup. The race is an enormous event; a massive bender from most people. The first results will arrive the day after at around 11am, so I think the Australians will be following events with a hangover.
Lots of people are holding their breath - they don't want to imagine that Obama won't win. They really want the US to move on from Bush. I heard on TV that journalists expect a boost on the stock market if Obama wins. Everybody's going to be following the election online because it's in the middle of the day and we'll all be at work. Tuesday and Wednesday aren't going to be very productive days for Australia!"
"I don't even know when they're going to announce the results"
Mohammed is a dentist in Baghdad.There's nothing going on here about the elections. People aren't interested at all; they don't talk about it. Some think Obama's better because he'll withdraw the troops. Some people prefer them to stay; we know Iraqis are not able to maintain security. But in general people aren't interested in US politics. I don't even know when they're going to announce the results. Right now there's a big fear here that's things are going to deteriorate in the next few months - there've been a lot of explosions recently - so we're more preoccupied about that. Obama, McCain; it's the same line. It doesn't matter which party to us. It's always going to be the same Pentagon."
"We won't turn the radio off for a second when the election's on"
Bertrand Kpogo is a blogger in Cotonou, Benin.Many Africans relate to Obama. There are many who hope getting a visa won't be such a challenge as it is now. Right now Obamamania has taken over Benin like in Togo. There are even televised games where you can bet on who's going to win. Here, we won't turn the radio off for a second when the election's on. We're worried that the same thing will happen as with Bush and Al Gore and they'll have to count the votes again."
"I'll find out when I finish my shift"
Alex Chen is a waiter in Beijing.I didn't pay attention to election but I really want Obama to be president. I don't know much about the policies of the two candidates, especially not about the policy against the Chinese, but from appearances, I like Obama. He can really take the power and be responsible not just for Americans, but for all corners of the world. The other guy - I don't know his name - he seems old and just another politician. Obama is more like a friend.
Bush's policy wasn't good for the Chinese people. And I don't think Obama's policy is as friendly towards China as the Chinese think it could be, as with the economy growth here, we play a more and more important role in world events now. We're increasingly confident, so I think the US will finally have to find a more realistic policy for China. As for the American people; I like them. They come into my restaurant and they're very funny. I'll be working when the results are announced, so I won't be able to watch the election. I'll find out when I finish my shift."
"It's not a football game; we won't be going to the pub to see it"
Maria Vaniashina is a housewife from Moscow.People aren't very excited here. It doesn't seem very important because the economy is our priority at the moment. People are too busy looking for work.
However, in general, people support Obama because Bush and his command are too aggressive. Obama, and the Democrats in general, are better for the Russian people - the Republicans are a bit difficult with us. The thing me and my friends think is great about Obama is that he's a black American. My friends say the elections in the US are like a big show - it's not truly democratic. But him being in power shows some democracy.
Of course we'll watch the election; it's a show for us too. But it's not a football game; we won't be going to the pub to see it."
"Me, I'll be on the internet"
Cristina Civale is a journalist from Buenos Aires.We've got radio and TV channels broadcasting live from the event. Me, I'll be on the internet so I can stay in touch with my friends around the world. I'm part of a Facebook group that automatically changes your status to remind people to vote. Most Argentinean people support Obama. But we know it won't make much difference to us. The important thing is, is Bush; that it's over. But really, right now we're more worried about the nationalisation of the pension funds here than the election."