Clinton and Trump chase last-minute support on U.S. election eve | Reuters - Firstpost
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Clinton and Trump chase last-minute support on U.S. election eve | Reuters

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By Amanda Becker and Emily Stephenson
| PITTSBURGH/SARASOTA

PITTSBURGH/SARASOTA Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump crisscrossed the United States on Monday, racing to sway undecided voters and to get their supporters to vote in a tight presidential contest that opinion polls show narrowly favoring Clinton.With only one day left before Election Day, the Clinton campaign was boosted by Sunday's unexpected announcement by FBI Director James Comey that the agency stood by its July decision not to press any criminal charges in an investigation of Clinton's email practices.The latest opinion polls showed former Secretary of State Clinton ahead. A Fox News poll showed her leading Trump, a wealthy New York real estate developer, by 4 percentage points among likely voters. Clinton also held a 4-point lead in an ABC/Washington Post poll and a CBS news poll released on Monday. Financial markets brightened on Monday in reaction to the latest twists in what has been a roller-coaster presidential campaign. Global equity markets surged, as did the U.S. dollar, putting them on track for their biggest gains in weeks as investors saw Sunday's announcement by Comey as boosting Clinton's chances of winning.Opinion polls show a close race, but tilting toward Clinton, 69. Major bookmakers and online exchanges were more confident than public opinion polling that Clinton will win. PredictIt put her chances of capturing the White House at 81 percent.Both Clinton and Trump, 70, were spending the day racing across a handful of battleground states that could swing the election, given the Electoral College system that awards the White House on the basis of state-by-state wins.Trump, who had never previously run for public office, held his first campaign appearance of the day in Sarasota, Florida, where he and Clinton have been locked in a tough battle in a state with a large Hispanic-American voting population.Trump gave no ground to Clinton or to polls showing her with a narrow lead. Predicting he would win, he told supporters in Sarasota that Clinton "is such a phony" and, "We're tired of being led by stupid people."Trump also had stops planned in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan, closing with a late-night rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

COMEY SURPRISE
The FBI's Comey sent shockwaves through the race on Sunday when he told Congress that investigators had reviewed recently discovered emails and found no reason to change their July finding that there was no criminal wrongdoing in Clinton's use of a private email server, rather than a government system, while she was secretary of state from 2009-2013.It was uncertain whether the announcement came in time to change voters' minds or undo any damage from days of Republican attacks on Clinton as corrupt. Tens of millions of Americans had cast early votes in the 10 days since Comey first told Congress of the newly discovered emails."Nothing's going to change between today and tomorrow to help (Clinton) win back" undecided voters, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Trump, who drew wide criticism last month when he said the election was rigged against him and that he would not yet commit to respecting the outcome, questioned the thoroughness of the FBI review and said the issue would not go away.Tammy Regis, 42, a disabled Army veteran who served in Iraq and now lives in Palmetto, Florida, said she would not trust the outcome if Clinton wins."If she wins, no I won't. I just think it's really shady," Regis said, adding that she did not know why Comey "flip-flopped" on Clinton's emails. Clinton was to make two stops in Pennsylvania and visit Michigan on Monday before wrapping up with a midnight rally in Raleigh, North Carolina. She was to appear at an evening rally at Philadelphia's Independence Hall with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, as well as rock star Bruce Springsteen.

Speaking briefly to reporters before boarding her campaign plane in Pittsburgh, Clinton pressed her commitment to bringing the country together."I think that these splits, these divides that have been not only exposed but exacerbated by the campaign on the other side are ones that we really do have to ... bring the country together,” Clinton said.Since entering the race in 2015, Trump has challenged political norms with bombast, personal attacks and unorthodox policies, including proposals to bar Muslims from entering the United States and build a wall on the southern border to keep Central Americans from entering illegally.In October, his campaign was rocked by the circulation of a 2005 video in which he boasted about groping women. While such controversies have given Clinton the edge among women and minorities, Trump enjoys solid support among non-college educated whites. For both candidates, turning that support into actual votes is critical to building the 270 electoral votes needed to win the election.Markets have tended to see Clinton as the status quo candidate, with more uncertainty over Trump. Global financial markets slipped last week as polls showed the race tightening, with news of the renewed FBI investigation apparently fueling a slide in Clinton's poll numbers since late October. The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Clinton with a 5 percentage point lead over Trump nationally - 44 percent to 39 percent support - while races in Florida and North Carolina shifted from favoring Clinton to being too close to call. (Additional reporting by Alana Wise, Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by John Whitesides and Richard Cowan; Editing by Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Nov 7, 2016 23:46 IST

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