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Obama urges Democrats to vote in Congressional polls

November 01, 2010 17:38 IST

Facing a possible rout in Congressional polls, US President Barack Obama implored fellow Democrats to get out and vote in a "difficult" election, even as the buoyed Republicans promised a "really big night" on November 2.

With Democrats expected to lose seats in both chambers, and perhaps its House majority, Obama, days ahead of a historic visit to India, said that the only way to ensure continued policies intended to help working-class Americans was to keep Democrats in power.

"In two days, you have a chance to once again say, 'Yes, we can,'" Obama said at his final campaign speech at a rally in Cleveland State University, reprising the theme of his highly-successful 2008 campaign.

"There is no doubt that this is a difficult election," he said in acknowledging the tough political climate for the November 2 voting for all 435 House seats and 37 of the 100 Senate seats, along with almost 40 gubernatorial races, considered to be the most expensive Congressional contest in US history, with spending of nearly US $ 4 billion.

He told supporters to knock on the doors of neighbours, call friends and do whatever else they could to make sure people cast ballots Tuesday. Obama's comments came as another opinion poll ahead of the election indicated that most likely voters preferred a Republican-controlled Congress and that Republicans are poised to make substantial gains.

Obama repeated criticism from his weekly radio address on Saturday that Republicans were focusing only on winning elections, rather than tackling the high unemployment and need for new jobs across the country. "I guess they're feeling cocky, maybe," Obama said of recent comments by House Minority Leader John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that rejected compromise with Democrats and called defeating the president in 2012 a top priority.

"The journey we began together was never just about putting a president in the White House," Obama said, adding that if everyone who voted for him in 2008 turns out to support Democratic candidates on Tuesday, "we will win." However, the Republican camp appeared to be confident of upsetting the Democrats on the eve of the polls.

Boehner, who is poised to become speaker if Republicans win the House, offered a rebuttal, warning voters not to be taken in by familiar promises of changing Washington. "Washington hasn't been listening to the American people; I think it's been disrespecting the American people," Boehner said, firing up Republicans.

"We're going to have a big night on Tuesday night — a really big night," Washington Post quoted Boehner as saying.

Republicans are positioned to reach or surpass the
number of House seats that they picked up in 1994, according to strategists and independent analysts, when the party gained 54 and ended four decades of Democratic dominance in the House.

The final NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey before the elections showed that 49 per cent of likely voters prefer a Republican-controlled Congress. Only 43 per cent said they want Democrats to remain in charge.

"The Democrats are about to feel the force of hurricane winds," Democratic pollster Peter Hart, one of the conductors of the survey, is quoted as saying. Forty per cent of those polled said it would be a "good thing" if Republicans controlled both the House of Representatives and the Senate, compared with 34 per cent who said it would be a "bad thing".

As many as 84 per cent of those polled were dissatisfied with the state of the American economy, and 60 per cent believed the country is headed in the wrong path. Obama's job-approval rating also plunged to 45 per cent, a two-point decline from the last poll.

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