Americans will finally head to the polls today after one of the most fractious Presidential contests in the country's history. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been criss-crossing the US overnight in a final dash for votes. But how has their last-ditch campaigning gone down with the American press? Here's what the US newspapers are saying about the election:
Hillary Clinton stuck with her message of sunny optimism while Donald Trump opted for a dose of darkness on the final leg of their campaigns, the New York Times said. But the paper said that while the candidates were largely trying to repeat the messages they’ve parroted all along, Trump sounded uncharacteristically vulnerable. The paper said he appeared to be considering the thought he might not win, pointing to his remark that:
'They say we’ll get a tremendous amount of credit, win or lose. I said: ‘No, no, no, no. I don’t want any credit if we lose.’
The Times also had a dig at Trump, saying the Republican candidate seemed sensitive to the star power of Hillary’s backers, which included the likes of Jay Z, Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen.
The Wall Street Journal said Donald Trump ended the campaign in much the same way as he started it, ‘with an overtly nationalist message and the swagger of a New York City billionaire’. Will it pay off? The Journal also reports a poll which suggests Hillary Clinton’s lead in the poll has been cut down from 11 points last month to just four points in the final survey conducted before the election, suggesting Trump may be in with a chance of making it to the White House.
Yet as every political aficionado well knows, for every poll showing a slump, it’s not difficult to find one that tells you the opposite. Real Clear Politics' Poll of Polls, seen as a benchmark in aggregating numerous polls together, does just that. It shows Clinton has had a big boost in the last 24 hours; yesterday, it put her 1.8 points in front - now, it says, her lead has jumped to three points
The Washington Post reports that officials are worried about voter intimidation on election day. The paper says election monitors are particularly concerned because of Trump’s rhetoric about the election being rigged - which some fear could rile voters on the ground. The Post goes on to say that long queues at polling stations haven’t helped - with voters vulnerable to intimidation as they wait in line for hours to cast their ballots.
With the prospect of a Trump victory on the cards, the Post says that the left is finally rallying behind Clinton. The paper points out that 'in another campaign, a Republican nominee might have tried to split the Democratic base with the words of the defeated Sanders’. Not so this time around - with Trump succeeding in alienating many voters who might have come on board if the Republicans had opted for a softer candidate. What’s more, the Post says, Clinton's campaign has done ‘far more to warn voters away from casting a third-party vote, with ads on social media from Facebook to Snapchat to Instagram’ than any candidate before. It'll be crucial for Hillary's chances of winnign tonight that she has persuaded wavering Democrat voters not to jump ship.
But don’t write off Trump too soon though, says the New York Post. The paper reports a poll by Helmut Norpoth, a political-science professor at Stony Brook University, which uses a model it says has predicted the outcome of every Presidential election since 1912 - barring the election in 2000. Despite a raft of polls putting Hillary out in front, Norpoth is sticking by his estimate:
'If [Clinton] was leading by 10 or 20 points, I would say this is not going to be my year, but I don’t see it,' he told The Post. 'It’s so close. It’s certainly do-able [for him], even when you look at the polls.'
While on it’s front page, the paper makes reference to the unpopularity of the two candidates: imploring voters to ‘vote for the one you dislike least’
Florida is, once again, a must-win state for each candidate. If Trump triumphs there, he could well be on the path to the White House. But while ever vote counts, there’ll be much less Florida residents casting their votes today. The Orlando Sentinel reports that more than ‘half of all registered active voters — about 6.5 million out of a total of about 12.8 million’ had already filled in their ballots. It also said that there was a huge surge in the number of Hispanics who have turned out this time around: with more than 31 per cent voting early this year compared with 16 per cent in 2012. This could well spell bad news for Trump, who has alienated this group with some of his comments throughout the election campaign.
It’s a foregone conclusion that Hillary will pick up California’s 55 electoral college votes. Instead, the Los Angeles Times leads on the ‘security headache’ facing officials because of the close proximity of Trump and Clinton’s choice of base for election night in New York. The two candidates will be just 15 streets apart, the LA Times reports - saying that this is leading to security worries. It'll also be interesting to see what happens if, as promised, Trump refused to accept the result of the election if he loses.