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US elections

Clinton, Trump in final campaign push before polls open

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump intensified their respective campaigns on the final day before the US elections. The two candidates had some harsh words to say about each other with less than 24 hours to go.

The two US major party presidential candidates embarked on the final day of campaigning, with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton making a comeback after the FBI announced on Sunday that it had cleared Clinton once more from any wrongdoing with regards to her handling of emails while she served as secretary of state. Republican nominee Donald Trump meanwhile criticized the FBI probe, saying that the latest review could not have been thorough enough.

"They've bungled the investigation from the beginning," Trump spokesman Jason Miller said on CNN. Miller called for the FBI to release the newly discovered emails belonging to aide Huma Adebin for public view. Trump himself went even further in his remarks:

"Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know," he said at a rally in Detroit.

While the FBI announcement vindicated Clinton, its investigation still ensured that the days leading up to the election distract voters from the campaign, damaging Clinton's credibility.

On October 28, when the FBI announced it was reopeing its probe into Clinton's emails her lead stood at 3.9 percent. A day later it plunged to 2.6 percent and proceded to narrow through much of the past week, rebounding slightly on Sunday to 2.2. But with the FBI's announcement that Clinton was again cleared of any wrong-doing, her lead jumped to 3.2 percent - her largest lead since the email issue flared anew. 

The polling statistics are a compilation of national polls that are tracked on a daily basis by RealClearPolitics.com

Final push on the last day

The two candidates embarked on their whirlwind tours across the country in a last-ditch effort to win over voters. Clinton planned stopovers in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan while Trump planned to travel to Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.

Trump meanwhile said he also planned to hit another round of states after casting his ballot on Tuesday morning, starting back in Pennsylvania and then hitting Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and New Hampshire later in the day.

Clinton meanwhile added a final rally at midnight (0500 UTC Tuesday) in the crucial state of North Carolina, while Trump scheduled an appearance in Michigan at 11 pm (0400 UTC Tuesday).

The focus of the final rallies is on the key swing states, which will likely hold the key to the presidency.

"This election is a moment of reckoning," Clinton told voters on Sunday night.

"It is a choice between division and unity, between strong, steady leadership and a loose cannon who could put everything at risk."

Trump remained confident that victory was going to be on his side. He compared his prospective win to the Brexit vote in the UK "times 50."

"We are going to have one of the great victories of all time," he said. Trump also reiterated that he believed the vote could be rigged.

Latest figures, however, showed Clinton to hold an edge over Trump in the campaign's final stretch, with at least three polls showing she was in the lead over Trump. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll showed 47 percent of 1,763 likely voters backing Clinton and 43 percent supporting Trump. However, the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Financial markets' reaction

Wall Street and other markets meanwhile reacted positively to the clearing of Clinton's name. Markets across the globe rose following the latest announcement from the FBI.

USA Florida Präsidentschaftswahl Hillary Clinton (picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Harnik)

Most polls predict Clinton will likely win the election, but with the margin of error being too narrow commentators remain cautious about voicing absolute predictions

In the US the three major indexes are all up 2 percent or more in early afternoon trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up 349 points, to 18,238, while the S&P was up 43 points at 2,129 and the NASDAQ was up 116 point, to 5,162.

US stocks had fallen for nine straight days - the longest losing streak in more than 35 years, since the FBI said it was reviewing the newly found emails. Confidence in the currency also grew, as the dollar rose for the first time in five days.

Investors say they see Clinton as a more reliable candidate and expect her victory to clear the path for a US interest rate hike next month.

ss/kl (AP, Reuters, dpa)

 

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