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Clinton, Trump Hopscotch Country in Final Push for Votes

November 5, 2016 10:22 PM
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Rival U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made multiple appearances across the nation Saturday as Tuesday's election drew near with polls showing a nearly equal amount of support for each of them.

Republican Trump was making appearances in North Carolina, Florida, Colorado and Nevada, and his campaign said he would also make a stop in Minnesota, a traditionally Democratic state in which he is trailing Clinton by just a few percentage points.

Trump's running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, campaigned Saturday in Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is from the state. Clinton has a healthy lead in that state. Trump had been planning an appearance in Wisconsin on Sunday, but his campaign said that event had been canceled.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a placard during a campaign speech in Tampa, Fla., Nov. 5, 2016.

The Trump campaign also canceled an event in New Jersey with Governor Chris Christie. Two of the governor's top aides were found guilty Friday of scheming to create massive traffic jams to punish a Democratic Party mayor.

Meanwhile, Clinton spent time in Florida, which has traditionally been an important state in deciding the presidential election. In 2000, it was the state whose ballot count was so close it was decided by the Supreme Court, which handed the victory to Republican George W. Bush over Democratic Vice President Al Gore.

Clinton appeared at a rally in Miami where she was introduced by Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin. Martin, a black teenager, was shot and killed by a white neighbor in 2012 who said he was acting in self-defense. The case has mobilized a growing faction of people calling for criminal justice reform.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gives two thumbs up as she takes the stage to speak at a rally at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, Fla., Nov. 5, 2016.

But a heavy downpour, typical of Florida, forced an early end to the rally. Clinton, hoarse from marathon campaigning, commended the loyalty of the rally attendants and urged them to get out and vote. "Let's vote for what we want for our country!" she said.

Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, were also scheduled to visit Florida in hopes of rallying Latino voters.

Clinton was scheduled to wind up her day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where urban voters have the power to swing the state to either the right or the left on Election Day. Clinton will hold a rally where pop star Katy Perry, long a supporter of the Democratic candidate, will perform.

Barb Kearney-Schupp deposits her vote-by-mail ballot in a collection box, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, at Seattle Central College in Seattle. More than a million Washingtonians have already cast their ballots in advance of Tuesday's election, as voters decide on federal and state races, as well as ballot initiatives.

While the last days of a presidential campaign are often hectic, this year's candidates seem to have very different approaches to their final push for votes. Clinton is being methodical, according to Kyle Kondik, political analyst at the University of Virginia and editor of a political newsletter [[ ]].

"She is going to states at the end here that really don't have a lot of robust early voting. She's going to Michigan and Pennsylvania, where most of the votes will be cast on Election Day," Kondik told VOA Saturday.

In contrast, Kondik said, "Trump's approach seems kind of scattershot. He's going all over the country, maybe trying to spring upsets in states where Clinton has been consistently leading."

Kondik said the election now hinges less on persuading undecided voters and more on getting existing supporters to the polls.

"I think almost all voters have already made up their minds. I think the key question is whether voters decide to show up or not," he said.

Newly released voting figures showed 33 million Americans have already cast their ballots for the next president, offering analysts clues to who might have the advantage in an increasingly tight contest.

That means as many of one-quarter of all votes have already been cast, even as the candidates and their high-profile supporters crisscross the country to deliver last-minute pitches ahead of Tuesday's election.

Political analysts say the surge of early voting in Colorado, Nevada and Virginia favored Democrat Hillary Clinton, whose Democratic Party has more campaign workers to get likely voters to the polls. However, there were signs she had problems in the nation's heartland, including Ohio, where fewer people have voted early than in the last presidential election.

Each of the 50 states sets its own rules for early voting and when it can begin.

With just three days of campaigning left before most Americans cast their ballots, polls showed a tightening race between Clinton and Trump. The RealClear Politics poll average showed Clinton slightly ahead with 46.6 percent of the vote, compared with 44.8 percent for Trump. Her lead in several key battleground states has also narrowed.

Clinton's advantage shrank following last-minute disclosures by the FBI that it was revisiting its probe of her use of a private email server while serving as U.S. secretary of state. Trump charges that Clinton is so bogged down in legal problems that her election would plunge the United States into a constitutional crisis.

On Friday, Clinton appeared on stage in Ohio at Cleveland's Wolstein Center with hip-hop music star Jay Z and his wife, singer Beyonce. The candidate told the boisterous crowd, "We have unfinished work to do, more barriers to break, and with your help, a glass ceiling to crack once and for all."

At a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday, Trump told the crowd he did not need celebrities to help energize his supporters.

"We don't need Jay Z to fill up arenas, you know. We do it the old-fashioned way. ... We fill them up because you love what we're saying and you want to make America great again. That's about it," he said.


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