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WASHINGTON (AP) — The election laid bare a dual — and dueling — nation, politically speaking, jaggedly split down the middle on the presidency and torn over much else. It seems you can please only half of the people nearly all of the time.

Americans retained the fractious balance of power in re-electing President Barack Obama, a Republican House and a Democratic Senate, altogether serving as guarantors of the gridlock that voters say they despise. Slender percentages separated winner and loser from battleground to battleground, and people in exit polls said yea and nay in roughly equal measure to some of the big issues of the day.

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