Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton entered the last three days of campaigning in the U.S. presidential election with competing events on Saturday in Florida, a swing state that could prove decisive in Tuesday’s vote.
Clinton and Trump are making their closing arguments to American voters, crisscrossing the United States in hopes of convincing last-minute undecided voters and rallying their bases to turn out enthusiastically on Election Day.
Opinion polls show Clinton still holds advantages in states that could be critical in deciding the election, but her lead has narrowed after a revelation a week ago that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was looking into a new trove of emails as part of its probe into her handling of classified information while she was secretary of state.
The state opinion polls have found Florida as one of the most competitive among the swing states – those that are hotly contested because their voters can swing either to Republicans or Democrats. The 2000 presidential election was decided in Florida after a dispute over votes and recounting of ballots went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Republican George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore.
The Real Clear Politics average of Florida opinion polls found Clinton with a lead of about 1 percentage point – indicating the race there is a virtual tie.
Trump held a morning rally in Tampa, Florida, where he continued to criticize Clinton for supporting the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in the wake of announcement that premiums are going to rise next year.
“It’s not going to matter because if we win I’m throwing it out anyway,” Trump said.
Trump will also campaign Saturday in North Carolina, Nevada and Colorado. Trump told the crowd he will also hold a campaign event in Minnesota this weekend, although one had not previously been scheduled. His campaign confirmed a rally scheduled for Wisconsin on Sunday has been canceled. Minnesota has not voted for a Republican since 1984.
Trump repeated an attack against Clinton that he is more aggressively campaigning because she lacks “stamina.”
“Look, I’m here I’m doing five or six of these a day, and Hillary goes home, she goes to sleep. If she wanted to do it, which she doesn’t, she doesn’t have the energy to do it, believe me,” Trump said in Tampa. He had four events planned that day.
Clinton started the day by stopping by the West Miami Community Center, a Cuban American neighborhood, with telenova star Jencarlos Canela, a Miami native of Cuban descent.
She then visited her campaign’s office in Little Haiti where there is a large concentration of Haitian-American residents. Clinton was joined by Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teenager who was shot dead in 2012 by a Sanford, Florida neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman.
While Trump prefers large-scale rallies, Clinton has filled her campaign schedule with targeted appearances meant to court voters in specific demographics. Cuban voters have historically favored Republicans, but younger generations have shifted toward Democratic Party candidates.
Clinton will hold an afternoon rally in southern Florida then head to Philadelphia, where she will appear with pop singer Katy Perry for an evening rally. Clinton has leaned on her celebrity supporters to draw large crowds in the final days of the campaign. On Tuesday night, she appeared in Cleveland with rapper Jay-Z and singer Beyonce.
CLINTON AHEAD IN OPINION POLLS
Nationally, Clinton has held her slight advantage in the opinion polls in the closing days of the campaign.
Clinton leads Trump by 5 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll released on Friday, maintaining her advantage in the national survey even as the race tightens in several crucial swing states.
The YouGov polling estimate released on Saturday found Clinton with a 3 percentage point lead and estimated she would win 293 electoral college votes, more than the 270 needed to win the White House.
The Washington Post/ABC daily tracking poll showed Clinton ahead of Trump by 4 percentage points.
Trump has appeared to be struggling with support from his own Republican Party. Last week, Reuters/Ipsos polling found a majority of Republicans thought Clinton was going to win. This week, however, those numbers flipped and Republicans now narrowly believe he could win.
Fred Reilly, 55, a lawyer from Haines City, Florida, said attended Trump’s rally in Tampa and he is concerned that not enough Republicans are rallying behind Trump. He supported U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas during the primary, but now backs the New York businessman who has never previously run for political office.
“I’m extremely, and you can underline extremely, disappointed with many in the Republican Party and the way they’ve handled this,” Reilly said of the party’s response to Trump. -Reuters