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US midterm elections: Republicans have slight lead over Democrats, poll shows

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Republicans appear to have a narrow lead over the ruling Democrats in advance of the polling day in the US midterm elections on Tuesday.

Polls suggest that Republicans will take back control of the House of Representatives but the fate of the Senate remains in the balance and will be a very tight contest in a number of states. Final results could take a number of days to emerge.

An ABC poll on Sunday said 49 per cent of registered voters backed Republicans in their constituency compared with 48 per cent who supported the Democrats.

Among likely voters, the figures were split 50 per cent for Republicans and 48 per cent for Democrats.

The ABC poll found that voters strongly considered Republicans the best party to handle key issues such as crime and the economy.

Voters polled trusted Democrats to deal better with abortion and climate change. However, these issues are generally viewed as lower in importance than the economy.

US president Joe Biden as well his predecessors Donald Trump and Barack Obama were all on the campaign trail at the weekend in support of rival candidates in key contests, particularly in Pennsylvania.

Mr Biden on Sunday canvassed in New York on behalf of the state’s serving governor Kathy Hochul who is facing a much tougher contest than had been expected against her Republican opponent Lee Zeldin, who is a strong supporter of Mr Trump. New York has been seen as a Democratic stronghold in recent years.

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Mr Trump and the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, who is also a Republican, were scheduled to hold separate rallies in the state on Sunday, highlighting tensions between the two men who may be rivals for the party’s nomination to run for the White House in 2024.

Mr DeSantis is expected to win re-election as governor of Florida for another term this week. He is considered by many pundits to be potentially one of the main rivals to Mr Trump to run for the presidency in 2024.

Mr Trump called the Florida governor “Ron DeSanctimonious” at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday – the latest in a series of nicknames which the former president has given to his political opponents over the years.

There is an increasing expectation in the US that Mr Trump will announce another bid for the White House later this month.

“Everybody, I promise you, in the very next, very, very, very short period of time, you are going to be happy”, he said.

At his rally in support of Democrat candidates in Pennsylvania on Saturday, Mr Biden said: “Your right to choose is on the ballot. Your right to vote is on the ballot. Social Security and Medicare is in the ballot.”

Mr Obama at the rally in Pennsylvania warned against threats to American democracy if Republicans won the forthcoming elections.

“I understand that democracy might not seem like a top priority right now, especially when you’re worried about paying the bills.”

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“But when true democracy goes away, we’ve seen throughout history, we’ve seen around the world, when true democracy goes away, people get hurt. It has real consequences.”

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