Elections halfway through US President Barack Obama's four-year term could shift control in Congress. Obama's Democrats could lose their majority to the Republicans, making Obama's legislative plans a tall task.
Obama may face strengthened opposition on Capitol Hill
American voters are heading to the polls this Tuesday in the country's midterm elections, which could shift the balance of power in the US Congress.
President Barack Obama's Democratic Party faces the prospect of losing its majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, which would make his legislative plans for the remaining two years of his term difficult to get passed.
Change could become difficult for Obama
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs, as are 37 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Until now, the Democrats have held the majority in both the House and the Senate, but pre-election polls indicate that power could shift to the Republicans.
Of the 50 states in the union, 37 are also electing a new governor. This includes California, which is to elect a successor to Austrian-born actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.
One of the divisive issues steering American voters during this campaign has been the economic downturn and the resulting unemployment in the US. People suffering from home foreclosures and the loss of their retirement funds because of the economic crisis are looking for solutions as well.
President Obama says many of these problems were started during the previous administration of George W. Bush. But opinion polls indicate that many voters are frustrated with the amount of time it has taken for the economy to turn around, leading many pollsters to believe that the Republicans will benefit as a result.
If Republicans make gains, Boehner's role could grow
And indeed, the Republicans have been working to use this sentiment to their advantage.
"We just can't afford another two years like the past two," Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner wrote in an op-ed piece on Monday for the USA Today newspaper.
The Democrats have been feverishly campaigning to win votes in key states. President Obama himself has also been on the campaign trail, trying to reinvigorate the electoral base that helped him win the presidential election in 2008.
He even dusted off his campaign slogan from that election, telling voters that Tuesday's election provided the chance to say once again, 'Yes we can!'
In addition to deciding key races in the House and Senate, American voters are to vote on a number of state and local political races and initiatives as well.
One of the bigger ballot measures is an initiative in California on legalizing marijuana. If the proposal passes, California's massive state budget deficit could get a boost from tax revenue generated by the drug.
Author: Matt Zuvela (AP, Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold