What's at stake in the USA mid-term elections

US voters head to the polls in the midterm elections. Image Getty Images

"Things are pretty good, yet we have all this division and we have this president who's relatively unpopular, so we have this unusual juxtaposition", said Kent State politics professor Michael Ensley, citing Trump's poor approval ratings despite a rollicking USA economy and the absence of any major foreign-policy challenges.

President Donald Trump and national Republicans largely turned their attention in recent weeks toward keeping the Senate, signaling they recognize how hard it could be for Republicans to hold enough seats to keep control of the House.

The elections will mark the first nationwide vote since Russian Federation targeted state election systems in the 2016 U.S. presidential race but federal, state and local officials have sought to reassure the public that their voting systems are secure. And even if legislation passed in both chambers, Trump could veto it and Democrats would likely lack the votes for an override.

Some Democrats have vowed to force the release of his tax returns. "Two can play that game!"

Republicans have privately encouraged the president to back off, to no avail.

Likely House outcome: Democrats take control. It's possible those races are so close they will not be called on election night. "Those that did not, say goodbye!" At a rally in Missouri on Thursday, he bemoaned the fact that "two maniacs" had blunted GOP campaign "momentum".

"Yesterday was such a very Big Win, and all under the pressure of a Nasty and Hostile Media!" he added.

After the surprising results in the 2016 presidential election, pundits are reluctant to make predictions.

And on Wednesday, he said she deserves to be House speaker.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin was re-elected in West Virginia, which Trump captured by 42 percentage points.

Women voted considerably more in favor of their congressional Democratic candidate - with fewer than 4 in 10 voting for the Republican, according to VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 113,000 voters and about 20,000 nonvoters - conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. "She has earned this great honor!"

Also victorious was Republican Mitt Romney, the vanquished 2012 GOP presidential candidate who grabbed the Utah seat being vacated by the retiring GOP Sen.

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That would give the Senate the role of blocking House-passed Democratic initiatives on everything from health care to the potential repeal of tax cuts on the wealthy that the GOP enacted past year.

A total of 155 Republican incumbents are defending House seats in districts Trump won by double digits in 2016.

Democrats failed to defeat a vulnerable incumbent in Kentucky, where Republican Rep. Andy Barr won over former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath.

The Democrats' narrow path to the Senate was slammed shut after setbacks in Indiana, Tennessee, North Dakota and Texas.

Tuesday's midterm elections were among the most bitter in years. Retired navy commander Elaine Luria wrested a House seat away from former navy SEAL and first-term congressman Scott Taylor in Virginia's 2nd district, a region where the president has proven deeply unpopular.

Millions of Americans have voted at 2018 midterm elections, which many believe will be a crucial verdict on President Donald Trump's first two years in office.

Democratic incumbents also prevailed in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Midwestern states that Trump carried narrowly two years ago.

History was working against the president in both the House and the Senate: The president's party has traditionally suffered deep losses in his first midterm election, and 2002 was the only midterm election in the past three decades when the party holding the White House gained Senate seats.

Aides set up televisions in the White House residence for Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their guests to watch election results come in, with the sets tuned to different cable news channels.

Most top House races are set in America's suburbs where more educated and affluent voters in both parties have soured on Trump's presidency, despite the strength of the national economy. He served as vice chairman of Trump's now-defunct commission on voter fraud. But the president received negative marks from voters on temperament and trustworthiness.

Over the past two decades, the highest turnout for women during a midterm election occurred in 2006, when almost 45 percent voted.

New figures on the eve of the polls confirmed that job growth is soaring and Trump gives himself credit for the "hottest economy on Earth". In the final days, he sought to motivate supporters with the battle over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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