Republicans appeared headed for a massive mid-term election triumph in the US with barely 24 hours to go for key Congressional polls,as the final opinion polls predicted the party wresting control of the House of Representatives.
Opinion polls logged just hours before the polling commenced show Republicans set to win the House of Representatives and eat hugely into the Democratic majority in the Senate,dividing power in Washington and forging a polarised prelude to Obama’s 2012 re-election bid.
Republicans held a six point edge 49 per cent to 46 per cent over their traditional Democrat rivals,according to the final NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey.
With the opinion polls showing a much larger swing for Republicans than the 1994 elections when they for the first time in 40 years gained majority in the House of Representatives.
Republicans appeared set to gain more than 39 seats which would give them comfortable majority in the House. Presently,the party holds 178 of the total of 435 seats.
The voters appeared demoralised by a faltering economy and appeared to be in no mood to respond to last minute wooing by President Barack Obama and other Democrat heavyweights like Bill Clinton,the survey said.
Republicans,electrified by the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement have vowed to overturn Obama’s sweeping health reforms and have promised a budget crunch and tax cuts,which they claim will reduce the deficit and ignite growth.
The election for all 435 House seats in the Lower House and 37 in the Senate comes as the euphoria stirred by Obama in 2008 seems an age away.
Most of the pollsters even predicted a Republican control of both the Houses saying nearly half the voters wanted to register a protest against the Democrats.
But a non-partisan cook political report concluded that the Republican chances of re-taking Senate were remote. The newsletter predicted a gain of six to eight seats for the Republicans which would give the Party anything between 47 to 49 seats in 100 member Senate.
The survey showed a clear majority of Americans ‘very dissatisfied’ with the US economy. Of that group,63 per cent said they would vote Republican for Congress compared to 30 per cent who planned to back a Democrat.
Among the voters,favouring a Republican controlled Congress,47 per cent said their vote reflected a protest against Obama.
More people this year say,they are casting a protest vote in larger proportion than in 1994 when Republicans gained control of the Congress for the first time in 40 years.
The survey said another big boost for the Republicans would come from Independents,who appeared to be heading their way. These voters backed Democrats in 2006 Congressional polls and 2008 Presidential election.
But 49 per cent now said they would vote Republicans tomorrow while 33 per cent said they would stick with Democrats.
Pollster Bill McInturff said,the election results were a “grim set of data that projects a larger election sweep for Republicans than in 1994”.
Obama’s job-approval rating stood at 45 per cent,a two-point decline from the last poll.
Twenty-eight per cent of those surveyed identified themselves as Tea Party supporters.
Among these supporters,57 per cent would replace every single member of Congress if they could,according to the poll,which has detected the same sentiment among 45 per cent of all registered voters.
Historically,sitting US presidents have seen their party lose seats in elections halfway through their first term,though George W Bush defied that trend in 2002.