US polls: Republicans close to capturing Senate

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Nov 05, 2014 09:52 IST

As millions of Americans voted Tuesday in 2014 mid-term elections, Republicans appeared close to taking the Senate, while retaining control of the House of Representatives.

But a clear result may take days coming, warned experts.

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to claim the senate, and they probably will — Fivethirtyeight, the pollster that has yet to get an election wrong, has put their chances at 76%.

They are widely expected to retain control of the House.

Over 200 million Americans are eligible to vote, but only 146 million of them have registered to vote, and 64% of them voted in the 2012 presidential election.

Turnout has been historically lower for mid-terms.

On the ballot are all 435 voting seats of the House of Representatives, 36 of the 100 Senate seats and 36 of the 50 governorships.

There are five Indian Americans in the race — Ami Bera (seeking second term), Ro Khanna and Manan Trivedi for the House; Nikki Haley is seeking another term as governor in South Carolina and Neel Kashkari his first as governor of California. Though President Barack Obama is not on the ballot, his policies are. And some Democrats have sought to distance themselves from him because of his plunging popularity.

All eyes are on the battle for the Senate, and the three contests could potentially delay the outcome no matter how inevitable they may seem, according to polls and pundits. Louisiana and Georgia, where Republican and Democratic candidates are in close fights, require winners to get more than 50% of the votes, else they go back to polls, called run-offs.

And that may take a few days.

The third contest, in Kansas, has an independent, Greg Orman, leading the Republican incumbent, Senator Pat Robert. If Orman wins, he will have to announce who he will caucus with.

Independents can chose to work with — called “caucus with” — with either party. Independent senator Angus S King, for instance, caucuses with Democrats in this senate. And Orman’s call, if he takes time, could delay the count.

There are many other factors being weighed by experts and pundits as polling opened. Can Democrats, for instance, stop the Republican rampage by cranking up their turnout?

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