The long US presidential campaigns neared their end on Monday in the same angry tone they began, with Republican Donald Trump calling Democrat Hillary Clinton a ‘phony’ and Clinton accusing her opponent of worsening divisions throughout the country.
As public opinion polls showed Clinton with a narrow lead, she and Trump raced through several battleground states in a last-ditch attempt to encourage their respective supporters to show up at voting booths on Tuesday.
Clinton sought to capture more votes from Latinos, African-Americans and young people, while Trump was looking to rev up disaffected auto workers and a middle-class he says has been sidelined by the political establishment.
Clinton was bolstered on the campaign trail by President Barack Obama, who spoke to a crowd of some 9,000 people at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, urging young people who supported him in 2008 and 2012 to do the same for Clinton.
Obama, ending his second term in office with strong approval ratings, reiterated his charge that Trump is “temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief,” and cast the wealthy New York real estate developer as out of touch with most Americans.
“In his 70 years on Earth, the Donald has never shown any regard for working folks. I don’t think he knows working people, except for the folks who clean up in his hotels and the folks who mow the fairway on his golf course,” Obama said.
With only hours 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 while she was secretary of state.
The latest opinion polls showed Clinton ahead: a Fox News poll showed her leading Trump by four per cent among likely voters and Clinton also held a 4-point lead in an ABC/Washington Post poll and a CBS news poll released on Monday.
Financial markets brightened in reaction to the latest twists in what has been a roller-coaster presidential campaign.
Global stock markets surged, as did the US 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.
Clinton’s comfortable lead had eroded since late last month and investors had been unnerved by the tightening race, preferring what is seen as a known quantity in Clinton, over the political wild card, Trump.