US midterm polls: Joe Biden says ‘good day for democracy’ as Republicans fare below expectations
While the Republicans are still better placed to take control of the Congress, the results so far have been underwhelming for the party.
United States President Joe Biden said Wednesday was a “good day for democracy” as the ruling Democrats prevailed better than expected in the country’s midterm elections held on November 8.
“[...] And I think it was a good day for America,” Biden said at a press conference in the White House. “While the press and the pundits were predicting a giant red [Republican] wave, it didn’t happen.”
Early results and predictions till Wednesday night showed that while the Republicans would take over the US House of Representatives – the lower House – the party will not be able to muster up a comfortable majority, that analysts and supporters had widely expected, the Associated Press reported.
The race for a majority in the Senate – the upper House – is a much tighter one and could eventually be decided in a run-off election next month.
What was at stake?
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate were in the fray in the midterm elections.
Members of the House represent local populations and Senators represent the states in the US.
As the name suggests, midterm elections are held in the middle of the four-year tenure of a US President. Historically, the party in power ends up losing the midterm polls. Moreover, high inflation rates in the country and low approval ratings of Biden in the run-up to the elections meant that the Republicans hinged their hopes to gain the majority in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate.
Ahead of the elections, the Democrats had control over the Congress due to a thin majority in the House of Representatives. The House currently has 224 Democrats and 213 Republicans. Meanwhile, in the Senate, the two parties were tied having 50 members each. Vice President Kamala Harris held the tiebreaker vote.
Results so far
None of the parties had control of the Congress till Wednesday night, as both Republicans and Democrats had not yet reached the majority mark of 218 in the House of Representatives, or 51 in the Senate.
However, the Republicans looked set for a majority in the House. Among websites which are updating the tally on a real-time basis, Bloomberg has so far called 207 seats for the Republicans and 184 for the Democrats, and The New York Times has put the numbers at 207-189. Meanwhile, the BBC reported the tally to be 210-192.
However, the results of the Senate polls are closer. Bloomberg has called 48 seats for both parties, while The New York Times has so far given 49 seats to Republicans and 48 to Democrats. On the BBC live blog, the race is at a deadlock of 48 seats each.
The majority mark of 51 might eventually hinge upon the three states of Arizona, Nevada and Georgia. However, the Georgia senate will be decided by a run-off election next month, which involves two-round voting on a preferential basis.