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President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden have been travelling across the nation as the US election enters its closing stage.

Donald Trump visited five battleground states while Joe Biden spoke at a campaign event in Pennsylvania.

Joe Biden maintains a solid national lead in the polls ahead of November 3 general election.

However, his advantage is narrower in key states which could decide the result.

More than 90 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century.

The election comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide, reporting more than 99,000 infections on October 31 alone.

Top virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has sharply criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, drawing a rebuke from the White House on November 1.

President Trump had a punishing schedule on November 1, holding rallies in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia, followed later by Florida – all states where polls suggest a tighter race.

Speaking in Washington, a town in Michigan north of Detroit, President Trump told his supporters that under his leadership “the economy is now growing at the fastest rate ever recorded”.

He predicted he would take the state again as he did in 2016, and said that the state known for its car manufacturing “didn’t have any auto plants four years ago” when he was elected.

He said: “We brought back your car industry. Your car industry was finished. You would have had nothing left.”

At a later rally in Dubuque, Iowa – joined by high-profile supporters like his daughter Ivanka and aide Hope Hicks – President Trump promised secure borders and more conservative judges in the courts.

Addressing Covid-19, the president told supporters they had a choice between a “deadly Biden lockdown” or “a safe vaccine that ends the pandemic”.

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Donald Trump’s comments came after Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Post that the US is “in for a whole lot of hurt” in the coming months.

“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors,” he told the newspaper.

Joe Biden was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective”, while President Trump had a different perspective and was focusing on “the economy and reopening the country”, he added.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said on November 1 that Dr. Fauci’s comments were “unacceptable”, saying that the expert chose “to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent”.

Joe Biden meanwhile headed to Pennsylvania, place of his birth and another key state in the election. President Trump narrowly won there in 2016 but polls suggest Joe Biden is slightly ahead this year.

At a rally in Philadelphia the former vice-president addressed the city’s black community, vowing to address “systemic racism” in the US and attacking the president’s handling of the pandemic – something which has disproportionately affected African Americans.

He said: “It’s almost criminal the way he’s handled it.

“It’s a mass casualty event in the black community and it’s totally unnecessary.”

Earlier in the day Joe Biden also courted Latino voters with a tweet in Spanish, speaking of the separation of migrant families at the border and his response to Hurricane Maria after it hit Puerto Rico.

He tweeted: “President Trump has attacked the dignity of Latino families time and again…This will end when I am president.”

Joe Biden also addressed a report by news site Axios which says the president will declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks as if he is ahead.

“The president’s not going to steal this election,” he told reporters.

Joe Biden also criticized President Trump for encouraging his supporters after some forced a Biden campaign bus to stop on a Texas highway, something the FBI has now confirmed it is investigating.

Donald Trump tweeted on November 1 that in his opinion, “these patriots did nothing wrong.”

The president denied the Axios report, but told journalists before his North Carolina rally that counting ballots after Election Day was a “terrible thing”.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” he said.

Joe Biden’s campaign said he and his running mate Kamala Harris would “fan out” to “all four corners” of Pennsylvania on November 2, joined by their partners and Lady Gaga and John Legend.

On November 1, Kamala Harris campaigned in Georgia, another state which President Trump won in 2016 but which the Democratic Party is trying to win this year.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have spent the day before the election visiting key swing states and making final pitches to voters.

Mitt Romney went to Florida, where polls suggest he has the edge, and then to Virginia, New Hampshire and Ohio.

President Barack Obama appeared in Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio, joined at rallies by Bruce Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z.

The election will be decided in just a handful of states, with Ohio in particular seen as crucial to victory.

Barack Obama closed his re-election campaign in Des Moines, Iowa, – the city where his bid for the presidency began in early 2007.

At a late-night rally, he told the crowd that Iowa had started “a movement that spread across the country”.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, was due to end his campaign with a late-night rally in New Hampshire but made the surprise announcement that he would extend campaigning into election day itself – visiting Ohio and Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are running almost neck-and-neck in national polls, in a campaign that has cost more than $2 billion.

But surveys of the nine or so battleground states that will determine the election show Barack Obama narrowly ahead.

On the stroke of midnight, the first votes were cast and quickly counted in the tiny village of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire. They resulted in a tie with five votes each for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The race has been most intense in Ohio – no Republican has ever made it to the White House without winning there.

Mitt Romney would become the first Mormon president of the US if he wins on Tuesday.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have spent the day before the election visiting key swing states and making final pitches to voters

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have spent the day before the election visiting key swing states and making final pitches to voters

In Fairfax, Virginia just outside Washington DC, the former Massachusetts governor said the president had failed to make good on the promise of his 2008 campaign and it was time for a new direction.

“Look at the record,” he exhorted supporters.

“Talk is cheap, but a record is real and it’s earned with effort. When the president promised change, you can look and see what happened. Four years ago then-candidate Obama promised to do so very much but he’s done so very little.”

He summed up his pitch to voters: “Do you want four more years like the last four years? Or do you want real change?”

In Ohio, Bruce Springsteen and rapper Jay-Z helped warm up a crowd for Barack Obama before the president appeared.

“I’ve got a lot of fight left in me and I hope you do,” Barack Obama told the rally, his voice hoarse from nearly non-stop campaigning.

“The folks at the very top in Washington don’t need another champion. They’ll always have a seat at the table. The people who need a champion are the people whose letters I read every day.

“We’ve come too far to turn back now. We’ve come too far to let our hearts grow faint.”

Thirty million Americans have already cast their ballot through early voting across 34 states. In the 2008 presidential election, 130 million people voted.

With the election expected to be decided by a razor-thin margin, both sides are readying teams of lawyers for legal fights.

Democrats in Florida have filed a legal case demanding an extension of time available for early voting, citing unprecedented demand after voters reportedly queued up for hours on Sunday,

In Ohio, Republican election officials were going to court on Monday to defend an 11th-hour directive to local election officials that tightens requirements needed for provisional ballots to be counted.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an order allowing residents to vote at any polling place, not just the one to which they had been assigned.

The city and surrounding areas were devastated by super-storm Sandy last week. Many residents remain without power and many polling places were damaged.

Activists have been stepping up efforts across the crucial swing states.

In Wisconsin, student volunteers have been putting in 14-hour days in an effort to deliver the state for Barack Obama.

Average of national opinion polls shows Barack Obama heading into election day with a single-point lead among likely voters, 49% to 48%.

Mitt Romney remains favored among whites, older people and evangelical Christians; Barack Obama among women, non-whites and young adults.

In the crucial swing state of Ohio, a RealClearPolitics.com average of polls shows Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney 49.6% to 46.6%.

The election is decided by the electoral college. Each state is given a number of electoral votes in rough proportion to its population. The candidate who wins 270 electoral votes becomes president.

A handful of governors, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are also up for election on Tuesday.

Republicans are expected to keep control of the House, while Democrats were tipped to do the same in the Senate.

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Mitt Romney’s chances of winning presidential election were boosted today by two polls which gave him a slender lead over Barack Obama.

Polls by Gallup and Rasmussen both gave Mitt Romney 49% of the national vote, ahead of Barack Obama on 48%, flying in the face of other polls which had appeared to show the President in the driving seat over the weekend.

The slim advantage could allow Mitt Romney to snatch victory in the key swing states which he needs to win in order to carry him to the White House.

The odds had appeared to be stacking up against Mitt Romney winning on Tuesday. Among political journalists, campaign reporters and most pollsters, there was a congealing conventional wisdom that President Barack Obama was about to be re-elected, particularly after Hurricane Sandy.

On Sunday, a raft of new national polls from Pew put Barack Obama up three, and NBC/Wall Street Journal, which gave him a one-point advantage. Fox, GWU/Politico and ABC/Washington Post found a tie nationally.

Rasmussen poll released on Monday

Rasmussen poll released on Monday

The Gallup poll, released at lunchtime on Monday, was the first since the firm suspended operations during Sandy, and showed a small swing to Obama. Its last poll before the hurricane gave Mitt Romney 51% of the vote with the President on 46%.

Both candidates were plunged into frantic activity on the last full day of campaigning before Tuesday’s election.

Gallup poll released on Monday

Gallup poll released on Monday

Barack Obama scheduled appearances in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa alongside A-list celebrities including Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z, while Romney planned a whistle-stop tour of four different swing states – Florida, Virginia, Ohio and New Hampshire.

The fact that both men included Ohio on their itineraries shows the crucial importance of the state, which both campaigns consider almost indispensable to their victory hopes.


President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney have begun a crucial swing through key battleground states that will determine who wins Tuesday’s vote.

Barack Obama campaigns in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Virginia on Saturday, while Mitt Romney targets New Hampshire, Iowa and Colorado.

Both candidates will visit the Iowa town of Dubuque within hours.

Opinion polls suggest the rivals are almost tied, although Barack Obama is slightly ahead in most swing states.

Barack Obama, addressing crowds of Democratic supporters in Mentor, Ohio, said the election was a choice “about two different visions for America: the top down vision that crashed the economy, or a future built on a strong and growing middle class”.

Republican MItt Romney, opening his three-state campaign day in New Hampshire, said: “Let me tell you what I’d like to tell you: Vote for love of country. It is time we lead America to a better place.”

These frantic last days mark a punishing sprint at the end of a long marathon.

On the eve of the election, the pendulum appears to be moving towards Barack Obama, as the opinion polls are not shifting in Mitt Romney’s favor in enough battleground states.

Barack Obama has arguably had the better of the past week, given Friday’s moderately good news on the employment front and the wide praise of his handling of the aftermath of Storm Sandy. He also won the endorsement of independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney target key swing states as latest polls suggest they are almost tied

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney target key swing states as latest polls suggest they are almost tied

Correspondents say Mitt Romney has the tougher task for victory on Tuesday, as he must win a majority of the nine most keenly contested states.

But Barack Obama’s opinion poll lead in all the swing states is within the margin of error and Tuesday’s vote is likely to be close.

The election is run using an electoral college. Each state is given a number of votes based on its population. The candidate who wins 270 electoral college votes becomes president.

Ohio is proving to be a tough battle and, with 18 college votes, could prove a tipping point.

Barack Obama began his Saturday campaigning in the Ohio town of Mentor, while Mitt Romney staged his biggest rally of the campaign so far – 18,000 people – in West Chester on Friday.

Mitt Romney was joined by former primary rivals Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, as well as the defeated 2008 presidential candidate John McCain.

He said: “We’re almost home. One final push will get us there. The door to a brighter future is there, it’s open, it’s waiting for us.”

The Republican, whose main manifesto pledges are lower taxes and a $500 billion federal budget cut by 2012, said Friday’s jobs report was actually a “sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill”.

Barack Obama has held mid-range rallies so far but plans to increase the size over the weekend, when he will be joined by former President Bill Clinton in Virginia on Saturday and in New Hampshire on Sunday.

The president campaigned hard in Ohio on Friday, highlighting his decision to bail out indebted US car makers in 2009, a move that was politically unpopular but which he says helped restore the industry.

Barack Obama’s manifesto sets out tax rises for the wealthy and more funding for job creation.

Mitt Romney has tried to make inroads into Pennsylvania, where opinion polls suggest the Democrats lead by four to five points but which would be a crucial boost to his chances if he could secure its 20 college votes.

The Republican challenger has also wooed Michigan and Minnesota, forcing the Democrats into late advertising there.

Early voting has been a key focus of this presidential election – some 25 million voters have already cast ballots in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

Some states have released the affiliation of early voters, giving Barack Obama an edge in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio, while Mitt Romney is favored in Colorado.

However, the figures suggest Barack Obama does not have the lead he had over John McCain four years ago.

Nevertheless, the Obama team has released data showing that two-thirds of those who have voted early are women, young people, blacks and Hispanics – demographics the Democrats say favor them.

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