Clinton, Trump gear up for final day of campaigning

Posted at 1:02 PM, Nov 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 13:02:42-05

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are poised to fight late into the night Monday as they barnstorm across battleground states on the final full day of campaigning.

As Election Day approaches, each candidate has a path to victory.

Clinton is better positioned than Trump with a narrow lead in national polls and an advantage in many battleground states. But her leads are far from dominant and a strong turnout for Trump or a poor response from sections of her own coalition could open the way for the billionaire real estate tycoon to become president.

The latest CNN Poll of Polls gives Clinton a four point lead over Trump, 46% to 42%. In most of the swing states that will decide, the race is tight. But if Clinton can cling on to most states that have voted Democratic in recent elections and add at most a couple of swing states, she will likely win the election.

But Democrats are worried about Trump’s strength in the Midwest — particularly in Michigan, which has not voted Republican since 1988. Trump has been making a strong push there amid narrowing polls.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway predicted Monday that Trump will win Michigan, telling ABC’s “Good Morning America” that that campaign feels “really good” about the latest polling in upper Midwest states.

Clinton will be in Michigan on Monday. Robby Mook, her campaign manager, said the late move is more a function of the calendar and the lack of early voting there than a sign of genuine anxiety.

“Our strategy these last few days is to focus on the states where voting overwhelmingly happens on Election Day,” Mook said on CNN’s New Day. “Previously, as you’ve seen, we’ve been focused on states like Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, where the majority of the voting happens early.”

He continued: “So, this is really a reflection of the voting calendar. Donald Trump has been kind of running to each and every state it seems. So they have their strategy. But we have ours.”

Margin for error

Trump has little margin for error.

He will need to win Ohio, North Carolina and Florida, where he is locked in margin-of-error races with Clinton, just to give him a chance to make the near perfect run through the remaining swing states that he needs to capture the presidency.

Democrats are particularly encouraged by indications of a surge of Hispanic voters in early voting in Florida and Nevada. But there are also warning signs for Clinton, with African-Americans not as large a proportion of the early voting electorate as they were for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

CNN’s most recent electoral map shows Clinton is projected to win 268 electoral votes from states that are solidly blue or leaning in her direction. Trump has 204 votes from states that are solidly in his column or leaning that way. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the White House.

In the latest CNN Poll of Polls data in the swing states, Clinton leads 45% to 43% in North Carolina, the rivals are tied at 45% in Florida and Clinton leads by five points in Pennsylvania, a state Trump hopes to turn red.

In New Hampshire, where the race moved toward Trump in the last week, Clinton is still up up 44% to 41%. New Hampshire only has four electoral votes, but Trump’s path to 270 is so difficult that votes from smaller states could still be crucial for him.

The candidates’ schedules on Monday tell the tale of the last day before voting stars.

Clinton will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Clintons and Obamas

In Pennsylvania, Clinton will appear alongside her husband former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, in a bid to ensure the heavy turnout among Philadelphia voters that could make it impossible for Trump to make up the deficit elsewhere in the state.

The event will underline the remarkable role the Obamas have played during the campaign in support of the current president’s former political rival — one that is unprecedented at least since Ronald Reagan campaigned for his chosen successor, George H.W. Bush, in 1988.

A race that has been full of surprises took another lurch Sunday, when FBI Director James Comey said newly discovered emails being reviewed by the bureau didn’t change his conclusion that the former secretary of state should not be charged over her private email server.

Comey’s last minute move was a boost for Clinton, but may have come too late to repair the damage to her campaign wrought by a week of controversy and speculation about the email probe.

After Clinton’s latest reprieve from Comey, she adopted a more optimistic message Sunday than she had previously employed in the final week of the campaign, when she was under withering attack over the email saga.

After she was introduced to a crowd in Cleveland by NBA star She told a crowd in Cleveland, after she was introduced by NBA star Lebron James, Clinton said she would always be there for Americans.

“I don’t know your dreams, I don’t know your struggles, but I want so much to convey to you I will be on your side,” Clinton said. “I will fight for you, fight for your family. I want us to do all we can to help you get ahead and stay ahead and my vision is very different from my opponents.”

Trump has adopted a scattershot strategy in the final days, traveling between swing states he needs to win, like Florida, and turf that had been considered solidly Democratic, like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.

He will be in Sarasota, Florida, Raleigh, North Carolina, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Manchester, New Hampshire and will end his day with a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan starting at 11 pm, with his running mate Mike Pence.

Trump shrugged off Comey’s move on Sunday, vowing that the American people would “deliver justice at the ballot box.”

“Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know it,” he said at a huge rally at Sterling Heights, Michigan.

If Trump could somehow peel away Michigan or Pennsylvania from Clinton’s column, he could hedge against a possible loss to Clinton from among the trio of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio. If he wins those three states and a big blue state, he could be on the way to the presidency.