U.S. midterm polls: Democrats leading in fight to win House

US Democratic Congressional candidate Jahana Hayes with her son Myles checks in to receive her ballot to vote-Reuters

US Democratic Congressional candidate Jahana Hayes with her son Myles checks in to receive her ballot to vote-Reuters

Republicans have had control of the House of Representatives since the 2010 midterms during Barack Obama's first term as president.

Faced with the possibility of keeping the Senate but losing the House, aides in recent days were laying out the political reality to Trump, who could face an onslaught of Democratic-run investigations and paralysis of his policy agenda.

For nearly two years, Trump's rule-breaking, sometimes chaotic administration has enjoyed a free hand from the twin Republican controlled chambers, but the midterms could see him forced to face an opposition with real teeth. Still, Republican voters tended to be overwhelmingly supportive of the president. They included New Jersey Sen. Menendez won in the heavily Democratic state despite a federal bribery indictment that prosecutors dropped this year after a mistrial. The Justice Department dropped the charges after his trial ended in an hung jury.

Heitkamp lost to GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer, whom Trump persuaded to seek the Senate seat. There are now 236 Republicans, 193 Democrats and six vacancies.

Democrats seized early victories in contested House races in Florida and also in Virginia, where political newcomer Jennifer Wexton defeated two-term representative Barbara Comstock.

In addition to his conversation with Pelosi, Trump called Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as other candidates he backed during the race, the White House said.

Republicans had expected the GOP tax plan would be the cornerstone of their election agenda this year, but it became a potential liability in key states along the East and West coasts where residents could face higher tax bills because of limits on property and sales tax deductions.

However, after an election campaign marred by extremist violence, opponents called the polls a chance to curtail a president they accuse of deliberately stirring racism and social division in the search for votes. Twenty-five percent described health care and immigration as the most important issues in the election.

That same math would protect Trump from impeachment, which requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate.

Overall, 6 in 10 voters said the country was headed in the wrong direction, but roughly that same number described the national economy as excellent or good.

Health care and immigration were high on voters' minds as they cast ballots, according to a ranging survey of the American electorate conducted by The Associated Press.

He bet big on a xenophobic closing message, warning of an immigrant "invasion" that promised to spread violent crime and drugs across the nation.

The elections will mark the first nationwide vote since Russian Federation targeted state election systems in the 2016 USA presidential race but federal, state and local officials have sought to reassure the public that their voting systems are secure.

Based on data from Gallup, no other president in modern USA history had such a low approval rating heading into their first midterm election. And, as it is, there are data both parties can take solace in that buoy their respective cases.

According to media reports, among the record number of female candidates running for House seats this year, 185 are Democrats while 52 are Republicans, meaning that a large number of women voters could potentially tilt the results toward the Democrats.

All 435 seats in the US House are up for re-election. Along with Sherrod Brown, a pro-labor lawmaker re-elected in OH, the four are considered potential 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Several ambitious Democrats easily won re-election, including presidential prospects Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of MA and Kirsten Gillibrand of NY. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The political and practical stakes were sky-high.

While the Republican Party retained control of the Senate, a win for the Democrats in the House would end the GOP monopoly on power in Washington and open a new era of divided government.

Said Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway: "I don't know that there will be much of an appetite for Democrat lawmakers to spend all of their time, or most of their time or even a fraction of their time investigating, instigating, trying to impeach and subpoena people". It would very likely mean a massive wave and a massive shift against Trump and Republicans tied to him nationally. Democrats are relying more upon women, people of color, young people and college graduates.

"It's all fragile. Everything I told you, it can be undone and changed by Democrats if they get in", Trump told supporters during a telephone town-hall organized by his campaign before Air Force One took off for Cleveland.

In suburban areas where key House races will be decided, voters skewed significantly toward Democrats by a almost 10-point margin.

Tuesday's results will be colored by the dramatically different landscapes in the fight for the House and Senate. His take-no-prisoners approach troubled many Republicans seeking to appeal to moderate voters in suburban House districts, but Trump prioritized base voters in the deep-red states that could determine the fate of the Senate.

Tuesday's midterm elections in the U.S. are likely - however they go - to mark a seismic moment in United States politics.

Democrats also boast record diversity on the ballot.