US Republicans eye solid gains in midterm elections

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US voters demoralized by a faltering economy look certain to hand Republicans a victory in today's midterm elections after souring on President Barack Obama's Democrats just two years into his crusade for change.

Surveys show the majority of voters are favoring Republicans. The final NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey before the elections showed that 49 percent of likely voters prefer a Republican-controlled Congress, versus 43 percent who want Democrats to remain in charge.

Republican leaders said the results, if they match expectations, will be a rejection of Obama's economic leadership, which includes costly government programs such as the economic stimulus and broad initiatives that included an overhaul of the healthcare system.

"If Republicans win, that's what it will be - a repudiation of Obama's policies," Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, head of the Republican Governors Association, said Monday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

In all likelihood, objective analysts say, voters are more inclined to punish the party in power, rather than to have suddenly fallen for Republicans.

In a recent ABC News/Washington Post survey, 67 percent of voters said they disapproved of Republican lawmakers' job performances, compared with 61 percent who disapproved of Democrats.

Meanwhile, as candidates across the country launched a frantic final push for support, Obama ended a two-day campaign swing on behalf of Democrats.

"This election is a choice between the policies that got us into this mess and the policies that are leading us out of this mess," Obama told about 8,000 supporters in Cleveland, Ohio, in an auditorium. "If everyone who fought for change in 2008 shows up to vote in 2010, we will win this election."

He reminded voters of Bush's culpability for driving the US economy into a "ditch," claimed credit for staving off a second Great Depression and said his policies have put the US back on the road to prosperity.

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