U.S. goes to polls today for Barack Obama’s successor

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U.S, NOVEMBER 8, 2016 – The attention of the world is on the United States (U.S.) as it holds its presidential election today. Yesterday, it was a marathon of rallies as Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton made last-minute campaigns for votes .

Trump, the blunt-spoken real estate mogul ending his first campaign for elected office, headed to five states in an effort to upend the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton who political surveys suggest could become the country’s first female president.

According to a report by the Voice of America (VOA), Clinton made four stops in three states – Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina – the same states where Trump was also visiting, along with Florida and New Hampshire.

All five states were among the most closely contested, with the outcome in each of them likely to play a key role in determining who becomes the country’s 45th president, replacing President Barack Obama when he leaves office January 20.
“It’s a close and competitive race, but not a tossup,” political analyst Nathan Gonzales told VOA as the final hours of campaigning unfolded. “She is more likely to win.”

U.S. political surveys continue to show Clinton with a small, consistent edge of about two or three percentage points in the national popular vote; but, U.S. presidential elections are decided by the results in each of the 50 states and the national capital, Washington. The most populous states hold the most sway in the Electoral College, where the winning candidate needs at least a majority of 270 of the 538 electoral votes to claim the White House, based on the state-by-state outcomes.

Gonzales said Clinton and Trump do “not have the same chance of winning. Donald Trump needs to do better in more states and more of the key states,” with more electoral votes.Most analysts say Clinton is ahead or close to winning in enough states to reach the 270 figure, while Trump needs to capture a handful of states where she now has an edge.

Gonzales said the margin of Clinton’s popular vote edge in pre-election polls is not important, but rather that “her path (to a 270 majority in the Electoral College) is easier. She doesn’t need to win all the swing states,” where the result often shifts between support for Democratic and Republican presidential candidates from one presidential election to the next.

Trump stopped first in Florida, the large southeastern state where 29 electoral votes are at stake. He maintains a second home mansion along Florida’s Atlantic Ocean coastline and concedes he must win the state in order to have a chance of defeating Clinton nationally.

He recapped some of his favorite anti-Washington themes in the retirement enclave of Sarasota, telling cheering supporters, “Our political establishment has delivered us nothing but poverty at home and disaster abroad.”

“We are going to do things so special,” he vowed. “Our country doesn’t win anymore. We are going to start winning again.”As she headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Clinton told reporters she has “some work to do to bring the country together” if she defeats Trump after a divisive, contentious campaign; but, Clinton said she has “a big agenda ahead of us” and plans to “get a lot done” if she is elected.

Clinton was joined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, daughter Chelsea, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at a massive rally yesterday night in Philadelphia, a Democratic stronghold and the country’s fifth largest city.Rock star Bruce Springsteen also joined them to entertain in a get-out-the-vote effort for Pennsylvania, a state where there is no early voting, unlike many other states where more than 41 million people have already cast ballots.

Both candidates planned to campaign late into yesterday night and early today – Trump in the midwestern state of Michigan and Clinton in the mid-Atlantic state of North Carolina.
In a campaign with numerous twists and turns, there was one last surprise Sunday. James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), told congressional leaders that investigators had ended a second probe of Clinton’s handling of national security material in her emails when she was the country’s top diplomat from 2009 to 2013 and reached the same conclusion as it did in July, that she was “extremely careless” but that no criminal charges were warranted.

A week-and-a-half ago, Comey had roiled the election by saying the FBI was taking a new look at Clinton’s emails after finding thousands of them on the computer of congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of a key Clinton aide, Huma Abedin. The FBI said the new emails were duplicates of others it had already examined or personal emails unrelated to Clinton.The Clinton campaign voiced relief that the issue had been resolved in her favour, but Trump rejected the finding as illegitimate.

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