WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th November, 2022) Millions of Americans have already cast early votes in US midterm elections and millions more will cast ballots on Tuesday as voters head to the polls to determine whether Democrats keep their majorities in the House and Senate or Republicans gain control of the chambers.
Democrats hold a narrow majority in the Senate with support from independents and Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote as president of the chamber. The party also holds a majority in the House.
Like predecessors Barack Obama and Donald Trump, current US President Joe Biden took office with his party in control of both chambers of Congress. Both Obama and Trump lost control of one chamber during their first set of midterms as president.
Biden is similarly slated to lose control of the House, and possibly the Senate, as final ballots are cast and counted starting Tuesday.
With all 435 House seats up for grabs, the chamber's power balance could change more dramatically than in the Senate, where only 35 seats are contested. Of the 435 House seats, 34 are considered competitive "toss up" races by RealClearPolitics (RCP).
The majority of the toss up seats, 29, are currently held by Democrats, putting the party's narrow control of the chamber at risk. Democrats currently hold 221 seats and Republicans hold 212. A total of 218 seats are needed to obtain a majority in the House.
Politico forecasts the House as a "likely Republican" victory. RCP projects 227 seats as leaning or likely Republican and 174 seats as leaning or likely Democrat.
Kevin McCarthy is slated to become House Speaker if Republicans win control of the House, taking over the position from Nancy Pelosi. Republicans' prospective agenda includes border security, oversight investigations and increased accountability of Ukraine funding, McCarthy said.
McCarthy predicted Republicans will win a majority in the House, while Biden said is optimistic about Democrats retaining control of both chambers of Congress.
The House Republican leader's fundraising network has also raised approximately $500 million for the party and his own campaign ahead of the midterm elections, Fox news reported on Monday.
New Twitter chief Elon Musk urged independents to vote for Republicans in congressional races, contending that splitting power between the two parties could curb the "worst excesses" of them both.
Control of the Senate may hinge on seven particularly competitive races among the 35 seats being contested: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin. Polls in all of these races are within three points.
With the exception of Washington, all of the aforementioned states are considered "battleground" states in presidential elections, meaning support for Democrats and Republicans is variable and close.
Democrats must win five of the seven coin-toss races. However, polls currently put Democrats behind their Republican competition in three of the races.
In Arizona, Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly is attempting to defeat Trump-endorsed Republican candidate Blake Masters. RCP's poll average for October 26 to November 2 places Kelly just one percentage point ahead.
In Georgia, Republican candidate and former National Football League player Herschel Walker takes on incumbent Raphael Warnock. Walker holds a 0.5 point lead over Warnock, according to RCP's poll average for October 26 to November 7. However, neither Walker nor Warnock polls above 50% of the vote with the inclusion of third-party candidates. Georgia is one of two states requiring runoff elections in the event no candidate obtains a majority of votes.
Nevada's incumbent Democratic senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, faces Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. RCP's poll average for October 21 to November 4 puts Laxalt 2.8 points ahead. Masto has trailed Laxalt, who is backed by Trump, since September.
Another Democratic incumbent, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, is also in a competitive race with Republican candidate Don Bolduc. Hasan's lead shrunk from 2.3 points to just one point since October 31, according to RCP's poll average.
The race for Pennsylvania's open Senate seat, left vacant by Republican Pat Toomey, has become one of the most-watched elections in the country, as tv health personality Mehmet Oz squares off against Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman. The race is also particularly close, as RCP's poll average for October 27 to November 3 places Oz just 0.1 points ahead.
In Washington, a state that is typically considered an easy win for Democrats, is also seeing a close Senate race between Democratic incumbent Patty Murray and Republican candidate Tiffany Smiley. RCP's poll average for October 25 to October 31 places Murray three points ahead, although Smiley is up 15 points with the Hispanic demographic, according to a Seattle Times poll.
Lastly, in Wisconsin, Republican incumbent Ron Johnson also holds a three-point lead over Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes. RCP's poll average for October 24 to November 4 has Johnson 2.8 points ahead of Barnes.
Races in Colorado, North Carolina and Ohio are also relatively close, with polls showing candidates between five and seven points apart.
On Friday, Biden said he believes Democrats will pick up an extra seat in the Senate, adding to their current majority.
More than 40.5 million Americans have cast early ballots in the midterm elections, according to data released by the US Elections Project on Monday. Roughly four in ten Americans, 41%, voted or planned on voting before Election Day, a Gallup poll released last week also found.
Republicans are more likely to vote in-person on Election Day than Democrats, while women, voters over 65-years old and people living in the western US are more likely to vote early, the poll added.