Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

USA midterm elections: Polls open in key vote on Trump presidency

USA midterm elections: Polls open in key vote on Trump presidency

By and large, however, Democratic candidates and party elders such as David Axelrod, the former top campaign aide to President Barack Obama, contend that sticking to "kitchen-table" issues is a better way to win over voters than being drawn into culture wars and the swirl of controversy that Trump regularly generates. White people and Hispanics, Republicans, suburbanites, men, the elderly, the college educated, and supporters of President Trump were the most likely to say they have faith in democracy now.

Trump is stressing Senate contests like Indiana's after sending signals that maintaining the House may be out of reach.

Election day - which is a working day and not a holiday in the USA - brought to a close one of the most vitriolic campaigns in U.S. history, with each day further dividing the nation that bears the name United States.

Democrats have largely resisted excoriating Trump on his words and actions, although he has denounced the party at his political rallies as an angry, unsafe "mob".

But numerous key Senate battlegrounds are conservative states, like Missouri and Montana, where Trump excelled in 2016 and remains popular.

Before he left Washington, the president appeared to hedge his bets against a Democratic breakthrough, tweeting an ominous warning to anyone engaged in what he called "illegal voting" that they would be subject to the "maximum criminal penalties" the law allows.

"Even though I'm not on the ballot, in a certain way I am on the ballot", Trump said. And that is an invasion.

Another 41 percent of Democrats said they were depressed over the midterms, compared to 22 percent of the GOPers.

"I feel less comfortable making a prediction today than I have in two decades", Republican pollster Frank Luntz said. "That is an invasion of our country".

Democrats need 23 votes to flip the House and two votes to take control of the Senate. "When you vote, Illinois, you can choose hope over fear", he said.

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"So if you want more caravans and you want more crime, vote Democrat, it's very simple", Trump said.

Immigration is a key issue in the upcoming United States midterm elections. "Democrats produce mobs. Republicans produce jobs", he told cheering supporters at his final rally.

"This is a president who wants this midterm to be a referendum on him, largely because he thinks his own popularity is so great that it will carry Republicans across the finish line", Hudak said.

In the governor's race, the incumbent independent, Bill Walker, dropped out of the race just two-and-a-half weeks before the election and endorsed Democrat Mark Begich.

'I don't think that's going to happen, ' he predicted. But several critical state governor positions may go to the Democrats. RealClearPolitics puts Trump's average approval at about 43 percent, with 53 percent disapproving. "That is particularly true when a president is unpopular, as this president is".

"Trump has hijacked the election", one senior House Republican aide tells Politico.

It makes these midterm elections extremely hard to predict. It will draw a lot of attention, but national Democrats caution not to read too much into a loss there, because Trump won it by 15 points.

If Democrats win enough House seats to reclaim the majority, Trump would face a shift in the balance of power in Washington. "And especially in the House where a simple majority gives you nearly absolute power to again set the agenda and get bills across the floor". "It will no longer be a rubber stamp", said Jim Kessler of the centrist Democratic group Third Way.

The speaker of the House is Republican Paul Ryan, who is not seeking reelection from his home state of Wisconsin.

Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics also had some possible good news for the GOP, noting, "There really are believable scenarios that don't require Republicans to win districts that they have written off. Republicans have to catch some breaks, but they don't have to catch breaks in ways that shock and surprise us".

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