COCONUT CREEK, Fla. — Although Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton holds what appears to be a durable three-point lead in crucial Florida, she warned supporters here Tuesday not to get too comfortable.
Campaigning simultaneously with Republican opponent Donald Trump in the key battleground state that represents potentially his last, tenuous, chance to rebound and win the election, Clinton cautioned, “It's going to be a close election.”
“Pay no attention to the polls," she said at a rally at Broward College's North Campus. “Don't get complacent.”
Her campaign is blunt in saying that Florida and its 29 electoral votes matter immensely, even if there are ways for Clinton to win the White House without winning the state.
“We are blessed to have a lot of paths to 270,” Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters earlier Tuesday, referring to the number of electoral college votes necessary to win.
“If we win Florida, it's very difficult for him to have a conceivable path to victory,” Palmieri said of Trump. “That's also true if we win Pennsylvania. Florida is, it's the biggest prize, and it's a big priority for us” and could seal the election for Clinton.
But the potential other ways she could win, and the possibility that Democrats could pick up previously red states such as Arizona and Utah, mean that priorities are constantly being reassessed, Palmieri said.
“We are lucky to have a number of paths, and that's a reason why for the last week we are flexible about where we are traveling and figure out as we get closer where she should spend her last days,” the communications director said.
Clinton holds a 3.1-point lead in the RealClearPolitics average of recent Florida polls, and she holds a larger lead in most national polls. The Clinton campaign, while celebrating the reversal of fortune from poorer polling in September, is trying to ensure that supporters don't decide that their votes are unnecessary.
Both Clinton and Palmieri focused Tuesday on the importance of voters having their individual say in a historic election. The risk of supporters losing a sense of urgency and staying home is one reason that Democrats are pushing hard to log votes early — through early in-person voting available in Florida and elsewhere.
Clinton campaigned here in front of an enormous backdrop that read “Vote Early,” and she plugged the days and hours available for Florida residents to go to polling places through Nov. 6, the final day of early voting in the state. Clinton was spending two days in Florida this week, a mark of the state's importance. On Tuesday night, she is holding a fundraiser in vote- and Democratic-dollar-rich South Florida — expected to be her last of the campaign.
“There's a lot that keeps me awake at night,” Palmieri said. “Complacency. Right now we haven't seen any evidence of that. What we see to the contrary is . . . that people very much want their voice to be heard in this election.”