Friday 24 March 2017

Obama begins political blitz to halt landslide by Republicans

Steven R Hurst in Washington

US President Barack Obama threw himself back into the congressional election campaign yesterday in a political blitz against what appears to be an inevitable Republican landslide.

Mr Obama has travelled the country as the campaign nears its November 2 election day climax that is widely expected to leave him facing opposition control in the House of Representatives and a diminished Democrat majority in the Senate.

Polling shows the president and fellow Democrats in a trough of disfavour with the majority of American voters who are frustrated and angry over the administration's failure to resurrect the US economy and bring down near-10pc unemployment after the worst fiscal nosedive in decades.

Mr Obama rested at the weekend after an arduous swing through the west and midwest, but the political battles continued on TV news programmes.

Republican Party chief Michael Steele predicted a wave of anti-Democratic voting. Not surprisingly, Democratic counterpart Tim Kaine said a strong get-out-the-vote effort would hold back losses and help prevent a Republican sweep.

With little over a week before the vote, Mr Steele predicted "an unprecedented wave on election day that is going to surprise a lot of people".

Mr Kaine said Democrats would retain power in both chambers. He argued that early voting figures from some states and voter turnout at rallies for Democratic candidates were evidence that his party would avoid the disaster analysts are predicting.

Reality

A new poll, however, showed he is fighting an increasingly difficult reality for Democrats.

The Associated Press-GfK Poll showed that one-in-three people has yet to make a choice. Yet 45pc of those voters tentatively prefer their district's Republican candidate while 38pc pick the Democratic contender -- the same 7pc margin Republicans hold with people who have already decided.

By some estimates, at least 75 of all 435 House seats on the ballot this year may change hands, and most of those are held by Democrats. An additional two dozen other races for Democratic-controlled seats have tightened in recent weeks.

In the Senate, Democrats are seen as having a better chance of holding their majority even though 37 of 100 seats are up for election.

Irish Independent

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