Washington, Nov 5 :
President Barack faced the prospect of a tightening gridlock in his final two years in office with Republicans just one seat away from snatching a Senate majority to gain full control of US Congress.
The conservative opposition, which already leads the House of Representatives, needed to gain six seats from 36 seats up for grabs in Tuesday’s mid-term elections to wrest control of the upper chamber. Obama’s Democrats have a 53-45 majority there with two Independents in the mix.
By Tuesday night, Republicans had picked up Democratic-held seats in Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas and West Virginia, according to CNN projections. The race is now boiling down to a tense duel over the seats in Iowa, Alaska, North Carolina and — in a major surprise a” Virginia, it said.
The math could change, however, if Republicans lose competitive Senate seats in Georgia and Kansas, CNN said.
The channel also projected that Republicans will maintain their grip on the 435-member House of Representatives where they currently have a 233-199 lead.
Obama, whose job approval rating has slipped down to 45 percent, will make a public statement on the results Wednesday and meet leaders of both parties Friday.
A divided government with Republicans controlling the legislative wing and Democrats in charge of the administration would further tighten the gridlock in Washington.
On the other hand, observers believe that the situation may induce both sides to make compromises in a spirit of give and take to move forward on issues like immigration reforms.
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, who is expected to become majority leader if the Republicans gain control of the Senate, easily overcame Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in his re-election race in Kentucky.
“For too long, this administration has tried to tell the American people what is good for them and then blame somebody else when their policies didn’t work out,” McConnell was quoted as saying in a victory speech.
The first wave of exit polls analyzed by CNN Tuesday evening show dissatisfaction with the Obama administration.
Roughly six in ten voters are either angry or dissatisfied with Obama, though about the same proportion feel the same way about Republican leaders in Congress. And most voters have an unfavourable view of both parties.