Two days ahead of the U.S. presidential election, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton were campaigning Sunday in key election states, a last-minute bid by both candidates to grab the attention of undecided voters and find a path to victory.
National surveys continue to show Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, with a narrow edge over Trump, a blunt-spoken real estate mogul making his first run for elected office. Most polling analysts are predicting a Clinton victory on Tuesday, but her advantage over Trump is not insurmountable.
Collections of recent national polls show Clinton, looking to become the country's first female president, with about a two- or three-percentage-point edge over Trump. The latest major tracking poll by The Washington Post and ABC News pegged her lead at 48-43 percent.
U.S. presidential elections, however, are not decided by the national popular vote but rather in the Electoral College, where the results are tallied in each of the 50 states and the national capital, Washington. The biggest states have the most electors in the Electoral College. Both Clinton and Trump need a majority of at least 270 of the 538 electors to win.
Both Clinton and Trump have been heavily campaigning in numerous states where the outcome is most in doubt, especially two Atlantic coastal states, Florida and North Carolina.
On Sunday, however, Trump was set for rallies in five other states and Clinton in three. Her surrogate, President Barack Obama, made another stop in Florida, a state with 29 electoral votes that Trump concedes he needs to capture to have a chance to claim the presidency. Obama has made 13 campaign appearances for Clinton, exhorting voters to uphold his presidential policies on numerous fronts, most of which Clinton has vowed to continue. Trump says he quickly plans to undermine them if he wins.
Clinton told worshippers at an African-American church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, "This election is about doing everything we can to stop the movement to destroy President Obama's legacy. In fact, it is about building on the gains and progress we've made in the last eight years. It is about choosing hope over fear, unity over division and love over hate."
Trump started his day in the farm state of Iowa, where he has held a small but consistent lead, and then headed to three states that have long voted for Democratic presidential contenders, Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania, in hopes of turning them away from Clinton. He was ending the day with a stop in Virginia, a state that once routinely voted for Republican White House aspirants but twice went for Obama, a Democrat, in 2008 and 2012.
In Iowa, Trump predicted that Clinton would be indicted for her handling of classified material on her private, unsecured email server while she was the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013.
“We need a government that can go to work on day one for the American people,” Trump declared. “That will be impossible with Hillary Clinton, the prime suspect in a far-reaching criminal investigation. Her current scandals and controversies will continue throughout her presidency and will make it virtually impossible for her to govern.”
Aside from her stop in Pennsylvania, where she is ahead, Clinton is campaigning in states where Trump has forged a lead -- Ohio, a large Midwestern state with a mix of big cities and vast farmlands, and New Hampshire, a small northeastern state dotted with quaint towns.
More than 41 million Americans have already voted in early voting allowed in many states. One hundred thirty million are expected to have voted by the end of Tuesday.
Analysts say Clinton has several paths to reach the 270-electoral vote figure and become the country's 45th president when Obama leaves office in January. Trump's chances appear to be narrower; he needs to win battleground states he has been contesting with Clinton and capture some of the 18 states that have voted for Democratic presidential candidates in each of the last six elections.
Polling shows the Trump-Clinton contests in Michigan and Pennsylvania especially could be close on Election Day, and both candidates are staging last-minute rallies there. Clinton, ahead in Michigan throughout the campaign, is making her first stop in the state Monday, while her husband, former President Bill Clinton, visited Sunday and Obama on Monday. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are joining both Clintons at an election eve rally Monday night in Philadelphia, the country's fifth largest city and a Democratic stronghold.
Both Clinton and Trump have been painting a dark picture of what the country would look like with the other in the White House.
“It’s your last chance to end government corruption to take back our country,” Trump told his Iowa supporters.
Trump was referring to the email controversy that has dogged Clinton throughout her presidential run. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently announced the agency had discovered thousands of emails from Clinton's time as secretary of state on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The FBI said that as a result it has revived its probe of Clinton's emails, after deciding in July that she was "extremely careless" in her handling of national security material in the emails but that no criminal charges were warranted.
In Florida on Saturday, Clinton told supporters, "I don’t think I need to tell you all of the wrong things about Donald Trump. But here’s what I want you to remember: I want to be the president for everybody. Everybody who agrees with me, and people who don’t agree with me. People who vote for me! People who don’t vote for me!"