America on knife’s-edge: First polls close in House and Senate races that could doom Trumpism

The first polls have closed in what politicians on the left and right have called ‘the most important election’ in most Americans’ lives.

Most of Indiana and half of Kentucky shut down their voting machines at 6:00 p.m. Voting will continue for another seven hours in other parts of the United States, but the results could take days to sort out in some tight races and the impacts will be felt for years.

Tuesday’s crucial midterm elections are a referendum on the first two years of President Donald Trump’s presidency and will determine how much – or how little – help he will have in Congress during the rest of his first term.

In exit polling published by ABC News and other outlets, Trump received 44 per cent approval for his job performance as president. Fifty-fity per cent disapproved. 

That’s actually higher than the marks Trump had received in many national polls during the past six weeks.  

A 53-43 majority of voters told pollsters after casting their ballots that they would prefer to see Democrats control the House when the next Congress is seated in January.

Exit polls failed to predict the results of many key elections in 2016, including the presidency, as voters appeared to tell surveyors one thing while doing another.

‘Warning: exit polls are like online dating profiles,’ Robby Mook, who managed Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign, tweeted Tuesday. ‘Things may not be as they appear. And they may break your heart.’

Gallup released a poll Tuesday morning that showed Americans by a 50-44 margin believe Republicans will retain control of both chambers of Congress. 

The famed polling organization has put that question to Americans 11 times since 1946. its results have never failed to predict the outcome.

Trump faces a referendum on his first two years in office and could end up anywhere from complete victory to total defeat

Trump faces a referendum on his first two years in office and could end up anywhere from complete victory to total defeat

Trump faces a referendum on his first two years in office and could end up anywhere from complete victory to total defeat

Voters lined up early on Tuesday in Doylestown, Pennsylvania as the age of Trump has given new significance to what might otherwise have been a sleepy off-year election cycle

Voters lined up early on Tuesday in Doylestown, Pennsylvania as the age of Trump has given new significance to what might otherwise have been a sleepy off-year election cycle

Voters lined up early on Tuesday in Doylestown, Pennsylvania as the age of Trump has given new significance to what might otherwise have been a sleepy off-year election cycle

Democrat Stacey Abrams of Georgia would be America's first black female state governor if she defeats Republican Brian Kemp in Tuesday's election, buoyed by help from Will Ferrll, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama

Democrat Stacey Abrams of Georgia would be America's first black female state governor if she defeats Republican Brian Kemp in Tuesday's election, buoyed by help from Will Ferrll, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama

Democrat Stacey Abrams of Georgia would be America’s first black female state governor if she defeats Republican Brian Kemp in Tuesday’s election, buoyed by help from Will Ferrll, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama

Twenty-nine-year-old Democratic nominee for New York's 14th congressional district Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is poised to win a House seat in a stunning turnaround after unseating a long-term incumbent with an unapologetic message of socialism

Twenty-nine-year-old Democratic nominee for New York's 14th congressional district Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is poised to win a House seat in a stunning turnaround after unseating a long-term incumbent with an unapologetic message of socialism

Twenty-nine-year-old Democratic nominee for New York’s 14th congressional district Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is poised to win a House seat in a stunning turnaround after unseating a long-term incumbent with an unapologetic message of socialism

Every seat in the House of Representatives is up for grabs on Tuesday, along with 35 of the 100 Senate seats. Voters will also decide on 36 races for state governors.

Among them is a contest pitting Democrat Stacy Abrams against Republican Brian Kemp for Georgia’s governor. Abrams, buoyed by support from Oprah Winfrey and former President Barack obama, would be the first black female state governor in American history if she wins.

Critical Senate races feature familiar faces like fire-breathing conservative Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, and also new faces like his Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke.

And New Yorkers could send 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist, to the House of Representatives in a district where Democrats do well. 

Republicans aim to hold their majorities in both chambers of Congress. Democrats are trying to take over in what pundits call a ‘blue wave.’ President Trump will watch the results in the White House while the nation he leads considers whether to put a leash on him. 

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are on ballots, with most polls forecasting that Democrats will take control from the Republicans

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are on ballots, with most polls forecasting that Democrats will take control from the Republicans

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are on ballots, with most polls forecasting that Democrats will take control from the Republicans

In the Senate the Democrats are facing an uphill battle because just 35 of the 100 seats are up for election, and they have to defend the majority of those as incumbents

In the Senate the Democrats are facing an uphill battle because just 35 of the 100 seats are up for election, and they have to defend the majority of those as incumbents

In the Senate the Democrats are facing an uphill battle because just 35 of the 100 seats are up for election, and they have to defend the majority of those as incumbents

A shift of just 23 seats would put the House in Democrats’ hands and likely install the long-suffering Nancy Pelosi, 78, as speaker. Most forecasters consider that outcome likely but not guaranteed.

If they’re right, control of the chamber woud switch hands for the third time in 12 years. America hasn’t seen that level of fluctuation since World War II. 

In the Senate the margin is narrower: A swing of just two seats would cost Republicans their gavel. But the realities of America’s electoral map make it a harder task than flipping the House.

Democrats are defending 26 of the 35 contested Senate seats. Ten of those are in states Trump won by wide margins in 2016. 

Of the nine Republican incumbents trying to save their jobs, four are considered safe.

With Trump as president, the nation’s off-year political contests have taken on the character of the World Series instead of the sleepy minor-league affairs they usually are. 

At stake is the future of the populist political movement that sent him to Washington: A win for Republicans would quiet his critics inside the GOP and embolden him for at least two more years of pro-business, ‘America First’ governing that’s hawkish on trade and uncompromising toward illegal immigration.

But a Democrat-led House could cripple his legislative agenda and dring the wheels of government to a halt as his political enemies launch investigations into allegations of election-year collusion with Russia and a growing list of other scandal-ready material. 

Trump appeared Monday in three separate states for rallies, making his final sales pitch in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and sharing the stage briefly with press secretary Sarah huckabee Sanders

Trump appeared Monday in three separate states for rallies, making his final sales pitch in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and sharing the stage briefly with press secretary Sarah huckabee Sanders

Trump appeared Monday in three separate states for rallies, making his final sales pitch in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and sharing the stage briefly with press secretary Sarah huckabee Sanders

One closely-watched race is in Texas, where Republican Ted Cruz - who fought Trump for the presidency in 2016 - has been dragged into a close contest with Demorcatic congressman Beto O'Rourke

One closely-watched race is in Texas, where Republican Ted Cruz - who fought Trump for the presidency in 2016 - has been dragged into a close contest with Demorcatic congressman Beto O'Rourke

One closely-watched race is in Texas, where Republican Ted Cruz – who fought Trump for the presidency in 2016 – has been dragged into a close contest with Demorcatic congressman Beto O’Rourke

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the 2018 Democratic Candidate for Senate in Texas, left his polling place with his family after voting on Tuesday

Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the 2018 Democratic Candidate for Senate in Texas, left his polling place with his family after voting on Tuesday

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the 2018 Democratic Candidate for Senate in Texas, left his polling place with his family after voting on Tuesday

If the Senate should go ‘blue,’ Trump would lose the practical ability to appoint more federal judges – including Supreme Court nominees – and replacements for cabinet members who are likely to walk away after two years in office.

Should Democrats win control of both chambers of Congress, an impeachment mood would sweep Washington, forcing the White House to play constant defense until 2020.

The president hinted on Monday that he senses the possibility of a quiet voter revolt that pollsters can’t measure, similar to the one that sent him to Washington two years ago. 

He said at allthree of his final campaign day’s rallies that Republicans might shock the world again no matter what the political press corps predicts.

‘There is something going on, Ohio, that they’re not talking about,’ he said in Cleveland after greeting about 6,000 people in a sea of red hats.

‘There’s an electricity like people have not seen since a date in 2016. November,’ Trump said, adding later that ‘we defied the pundits and the critics. We rejected them.’    

In Florida a close contest for the governor’s seat is taking place between Andrew Gillum (left) and Ron DeSantis (right), who is a close ally of Trump

Stacey Abrams is looking to become the first female African American governor in US history in Georgia, where she is taking on Brian Kemp

Stacey Abrams is looking to become the first female African American governor in US history in Georgia, where she is taking on Brian Kemp

Stacey Abrams is looking to become the first female African American governor in US history in Georgia, where she is taking on Brian Kemp

He also took credit for the resurgence of the midterm elections as a media phenomenon.

‘You know the midterm elections used to be, like, boring, didn’t they?’ he asked his screaming fans. ‘Do you even remember what they were? People say midterms, they say, “What is that? What is it?” right? Now it’s like the hottest thing.’

Trump threw his weight behind efforts to hold the Senate, engaging in a whirlwind series of rallies that saw him stumping in 11 cities over five straight days.

His late efforts might be wasted in portions of 37 states and the District of Columbia, however, where voters can cast their ballots early.

At least 36 million Americans voted before Election Day, many of them before the president engaged at full-throttle. 

Trump downplayed that Monday in Ohio, suggesting that it won’t be any more of a factor than it was in 2016.

‘I remember they said, “Well, the people are sort of holding for Tuesday”,’ he said, recalling his victory two years ago. ‘And did you show up on Tuesday!’ 

The president’s job approval rating ranges from 42 to 51 per cent nationally, and polls show an even wider swing in voters’ party preference going into Tuesday’s contests.

A CNN poll released Monday morning had Democrats leading Republicans by 13 percentage points when voters were asked which party’s candidate they were likely to support in a congressional race.

A Politico poll released at the same time showed that gap was just 3 points, in a survey with a 2-point margin of error. 

Link hienalouca.com

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