Polls put Clinton ahead

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton warned her supporters on Tuesday against complacency as opinion polls show her holding a clear lead over Republican rival Donald Trump with exactly two weeks left until the November 8 election.

Mrs Clinton told voters in Florida, one of the battleground states where the election was likely to be decided, that Democrats cannot afford to slacken.

“I hope you will come out and vote because it’s going to be a close election. Pay no attention to the polls. Don’t forget, don’t get complacent, because we’ve got to turn people out,” she told a rally in Coconut Creek, standing in front of a large sign reading “Vote Early”.

Mr Trump also campaigned in Florida on Tuesday. He blasted recent spikes in premiums for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Mr Trump promised to repeal and replace the health care law, as soon as he is elected.

“This is why we have to drain the swamp and repeal and replace Obamacare immediately, and I’m the only candidate running for president who will do it,” Mr Trump said.

On Monday, the US Government said the average premium for insurance plans sold on Healthcare.gov for 2017 rose by 25 per cent compared with 2016.

But with polls showing Mr Trump trailing Mrs Clinton, Mr Trump has asked his campaign to cut back on work identifying candidates for jobs in his future administration and to focus instead on bolstering his chances on November 8, according to two people familiar with the campaign’s inner workings.

An average of national polls on the RealClearPolitics website since mid-October gives Mrs Clinton a lead of more than 5 percentage points, as Mr Trump fights off accusations that he groped women and faces heavy criticism for suggesting he might not accept the result of the election if he loses.

Mrs Clinton received a further boost when Colin Powell, who served as Republican President George W. Bush’s secretary of state and was chairman of the US military’s joint chiefs of staff under his father, Republican President George Bush, said on Tuesday he would vote for her.

Mr Trump denies the accusations of sexual misconduct and says the election is rigged against him, although he has not cited widely accepted evidence to back that up.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump told Reuters Mrs Clinton’s plan for fixing the Syrian civil war would “lead to World War Three,” because of the potential for conflict with military forces from nuclear-armed Russia.

In an interview focused largely on foreign policy, Mr Trump said defeating Islamic State is a higher priority than persuading Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, playing down a long-held goal of US policy.

Mrs Clinton has called for the establishment of a no-fly zone and “safe zones” on the ground in Syria to protect non combatants.

The two candidates have sparred in recent days over the US-backed Iraqi military push to take the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State, which Mr Trump described as a “total disaster.”

“He’s declaring defeat before the battle has even started,” Clinton, who was secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s first term, said on Tuesday.

She urged supporters to participate in early voting, which began this week in Florida.

“Nobody should want to wake up on Nov. 9 and wonder whether there was more you could have done,” Mr Clinton said.

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