US election: Trump says defeat would be ‘waste of time’
The final rallying cries: Now it is up to the voters
Hillary Clinton has cast her ballot in New York as her rival for the presidency Donald Trump said he would see a defeat as a “tremendous waste of time”.
Millions of Americans are going to the polls to elect their 45th president at the end of an acrimonious and wildly unpredictable campaign that has divided the nation.
America will either have its first female commander in chief in Mrs Clinton, or choose the billionaire Mr Trump, whose controversial policies and personal attacks on his rival have rocked US politics.
Mrs Clinton was greeted by hundreds of supporters on the tarmac at Westchester Airport as she made her way back from the campaign, before casting her ballot.
Mr Trump, also back in New York, expressed confidence he would “win lots of states”.
Speaking on Fox on Election Day, he added: “If I don’t win, I will consider it a tremendous waste of time, energy and money.”
Polls opened in nine states – Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Virginia,
According to a poll released just hours before balloting opened, Mrs Clinton has about a 90% chance of defeating Mr Trump.
The Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation survey found Ms Clinton was leading Mr Trump 45% to 42% in the popular vote, and was on track to win 303 votes in the Electoral College to her rival’s 235, clearing the 270 needed for victory.
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The RealClear Politics polls of polls also gives the Democratic nominee a 3% lead over her Republican rival.
The election will be held under tight security, after authorities received intelligence of a possible pre-election al Qaeda attack.
Some 5,000 police officers will be deployed in midtown Manhattan in New York city.
Both candidates held a last day of frantic campaigning to energise supporters and win over any undecided voters.
Also at stake is control of Congress, key to any US president. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs as well as 34 in the Senate.
Going in, the Republicans enjoy a majority in both chambers and are especially at risk of losing control in the Senate.
About a dozen states are also electing governors and several are deciding whether to legalise marijuana, either for recreational or medical use.
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On Monday, flanked by ex-presidents, rock stars and family, the candidates blitzed through a handful of battleground states where the race will be largely decided.
The two candidates struck very different tones as they made their last appeal to the nation.
Mrs Clinton sounded optimistic, buoyed by FBI Director James Comey’s announcement on Sunday that he would not recommend criminal charges against her following a new email review.
She urged voters to embrace a “hopeful, inclusive, bighearted America,” and was accompanied by husband Bill, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
“America, I’m betting on you one more time,” Mr Obama said at the rally in Philadelphia, as a crowd of 40,000 people gathered in front of Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were adopted.
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“I am betting that tomorrow you will reject fear and choose hope.”
Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi joined the rally, while in Manhattan, Madonna belted out some of her biggest hits in a surprise outdoor concert in support of Mrs Clinton.
The Democratic candidate is banking in part on a high turnout – particularly among Mr Obama’s young, diverse coalition of voters.
In a possible good sign for her, roughly half the states with advance voting have reported record turnout, including Florida and Nevada, which have booming Hispanic populations.
Mr Trump, who sped through five rallies on Monday, kept up the aggressive approach that has carried him to the brink of the presidency.
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He vowed to “beat the corrupt system,” slammed Mrs Clinton as “the face of failure” and criticised the “crooked media”.
“You have one magnificent chance to beat the corrupt system and deliver justice. Do not let this opportunity slip away,” he said.
The tycoon and ex-reality TV star reiterated the “America-first” message that has resonated across the nation with people who feel left behind by globalisation and disenfranchised by what they see as the Washington elite.
“Go vote,” Mr Trump urged voters.
“Or honestly, we’ve all wasted our time.”
:: Sky News will bring you every twist and turn of the US election results – and we’re the only UK news organisation which will bring you details of the official exit poll. Our special coverage starts tonight at 10pm.
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