Midterm elections are underway and this season's outcome could have a dramatic impact on the makeup of Congress.
Early polls show Republicans may have enough support to dwindle the Democratic majority.
CBN News Senior Editor John Waage has been following the midterm election campaigns, voters trends, and expectations. Read his predictions below for the Nov. 2 election. Also, stay with CBN News Election 2010, Tuesday, for continuous coverage, with special LIVE updates at 9 p.m. & 11 p.m. ET.
Republicans should hold on to the five most contested seats they are defending, and now appear to be able to capture 10 seats currently held by the Democrats.
- Current Makeup: Democrats 57, Republicans 41, Independents 2 (vote with Democrats)
- Predicted Makeup: Republicans 51, Democrats 47, Independents 2
Here is a look at the key Senate races:
Republican Marco Rubio appears to have blown the race wide open in the closing days after reports that former President Clinton tried to talk Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek into dropping out of the contest to help the Independent challenge of Governor Charlie Crist. Rubio appears destined to be a rising star on the national stage as he fills the seat of retired GOP Senator Mel Martinez.
- Prediction: GOP holds seat - Rubio
Republican candidate Joe Miller is trying to fend off a bitter write-in challenge from defeated incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski as well as opposition from Democrat Scott McAdams. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin campaigned for Miller during the weekend, and ripped into Murkowski for threatening a conservative talk radio host who was taken off the air for "electioneering." Latest polls show a gain for Murkowski. A defeat of Miller by either Murkowski or McAdams would be a very disappointing setback for conservatives.
- Prediction: GOP holds seat - Miller
Another bitter campaign in which Democrat Jack Conway aired an ad attacking Republican Rand Paul's faith. In a race that had been tightening, Paul again widened the distance between the two after the controversial ad. Paul is a modest favorite to replace Republican Jim Bunning, who is retiring.
- Prediction: GOP holds seat - Paul
In a contest between two famous Missouri political families, Congressman Roy Blunt is facing Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Blunt has been over the important 50 percent mark since August, and is favored to win on Tuesday and take over for retiring senator Kit Bond. Blunt's lead is largely due to President Obama's low approval ratings and opposition to Obamacare.
- Prediction: GOP holds seat - Blunt
With GOP Sen. Judd Gregg retiring, Granite State Republicans turned to former Attorney Gen. Kelly Ayotte, who won a close primary battle. She's opened up what looks to be a double-digit lead over Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes. Although New Hampshire has turned blue in recent years, the GOP wave is strong enough to retain this seat.
- Prediction: GOP holds seat - Ayotte
Now, for the key races defended by Democrats:
Perhaps the hardest fought race with the highest stakes in 2010, Tea Party luminary Sharron Angle stunned the establishment by winning the primary last spring, and now has a narrow but apparently steady lead over Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Despite an avalanche of personal attacks against her, Angle kept on message in the closing weeks, vowing to change the way Washington works. If she wins, the turning point may have come during their debate, when she told Reid to "man up" and admit the nation has a real problem with Social Security.
- Prediction: GOP takeaway - Angle
Democrat Joe Sestak knocked off Sen. Arlen Specter in the May primary, but since then Republican Pat Toomey has led in most of the polls. Sestak gained in the closing weeks and tried to portray Toomey as a crackpot-conservative tied to Palin. But Toomey's strong anti-Washington economic message is getting a hearing in the Keystone State and a big win by the Republican candidate for governor could also help Toomey.
- Prediction: GOP takeaway - Toomey
When Democrat Evan Bayh announced his retirement, this seat immediately became a ripe target for the GOP. Former Senator Dan Coats overcame his past as a lobbyist to win the Republican nomination. He's favored to beat Democratic Congressman Brad Ellsworth.
Indiana, which normally votes Republican in presidential elections, voted for Obama in 2008. But the voters there now seem to have a major case of buyer's remorse and should return to the Republicans in big races.
- Prediction: GOP takeaway - Coats
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold expected to buck the anti-Washington sentiment in his state by touting himself as a maverick. It hasn't worked, and businessman Ron Johnson has edged toward a double-digit lead in some polls. Unless the unions produce a big turnout for the Democrats (and perhaps even if they do), Feingold is gone.
- Prediction: GOP takeaway - Johnson
Democrat Blanche Lincoln sealed her fate when she cast a deciding Senate vote for Obamacare. She will probably be awarded an ambassadorship or some other post in the Obama Administration, but she won't be back in the Senate. Republican Rep. John Boozman will take her place.
- Prediction: GOP takeaway - Boozman
Another nasty contest to fill the seat vacated by President Obama. Charges of corruption and mob ties dogged Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, who is a basketball buddy of the president.
Republican Rep. Mark Kirk got in some trouble for misrepresenting his military record, but has held the narrowest of leads in recent polls. Republican enthusiasm to turn out the current governor may help give Kirk the edge in the Senate race as well.
- Prediction: GOP takeaway - Kirk
In a state where opposition to the health care plan is strong, conservative Ken Buck rode the tea party to victory in the Republican primary and is trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet. Ahead by the margin of error in most recent polls, Buck will take advantage of a national wave of Independent voters breaking for the GOP.
- Prediction: GOP takeaway - Buck
Three-term Democrat Patty Murray is one of the very few incumbent Democrats to embrace the record of President Obama and Congress. She happily defends the millions of federal dollars she's brought to the state, but in a year when voters of all stripes are worried about the federal debt, her bragging may come back to haunt her.
Rossi has name recognition in statewide contests, having lost the race for governor in 2002 in an extremely close contest. This may be Rossi's year, and if he wins in such a blue state, it will be one of the big upsets on election day. It's likely to be so close that with Washington's mail-in ballots, the outcome may not be known for days.
- Prediction: GOP takeaway - Rossi
This race was virtually over when Gov. John Hoeven announced he was running for the seat vacated by Democrat Byron Dorgan. Hoeven is easily the state's most popular politician and will be sent to Washington in a landslide over Democrat State Sen. Tracy Potter.
- Prediction: GOP takeaway - Hoeven
This race wasn't supposed to be close. Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin has approval ratings over 60 percent, so when he appointed himself to fill the seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, it was assumed he'd easily win in November.
But anti-Obama sentiment runs so strong in the Mountain State that Republican John Raese took the lead in the polls, suggesting that West Virginians could keep their popular governor in Charleston and send him to Washington. Manchin reagained the lead, but a large weekend rally with Palin and rocker Ted Nugent may put Raese over the top.
- Prediction: GOP Takeaway - Raese
Carly Fiorina has run a very good campaign for a conservative trying to win in one of the country's most socially liberal states. She's been hammering away at Boxer's 28-year record of indiscriminate spending in the House and Senate, and is within striking distance in the campaign's final days.
Prop 19, the pro marijuana legalization measure, may inspire more on the Left to mail in ballots as well.
- Prediction: Democrat hold - Boxer
The most maligned candidate in a campaign rich with maligned candidates (especially conservative women), Christine O'Donnell has halved a 20-point lead in the past two weeks. She's still running 10 points behind liberal Democrat Chris Coons, and although she's hoping for a miracle close, it doesn't seem likely.
- Prediction: Democrat hold - Coons
Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon has fought gamely against long-time Attorney Gen. Richard Blumenthal. She's behind by 10 points in the latest poll and could still surprise on election night. But it looks like her big spending effort is going to come up short for the seat long held by Sen. Christopher Dodd
- Prediction: Democrat hold - Blumenthal
Polls also show Independents breaking for the GOP in large numbers. Some have cautioned that the enthusiasm for the Republican party is lower than it was in 1994, but if the election is more about getting the Democrats out than getting the Republicans in, voters who are motivated to go to the polls in this midterm are going to pull the lever against the Democrat.
- Current House Makeup: Democrats 255, Republicans 178 (2 vacancies)
- Predicted House Makeup: Republicans 244, Democrats 191
It feels like going out on a limb to predict a 66 seat loss for the Democrats, but the anger is so palpable and the signs are everywhere for a huge Democratic defeat.
For instance, the latest CNN generic poll gives Republicans a whopping 10 point lead, 52 to 42 percent--three points higher than the 1994 cycle when the House went Republican for the first time in 40 years.
If the "wave" happens, as many expect, it could sweep a number of senior Democrats--even committee chairmen--out of office.
On the endangered list: Reps. John Spratt, S.C.; John Dingell, Mich.; Barney Frank, Mass.; Jim Oberstar, Minn., and Dale Kildee, Mich.
Many of them haven't had a meaningful race in decades, but if the anti-incumbent sentiment is strong enough, several could fall.
The races for governor have extra meaning this year because governors wield influence in congressional redistricting after the census at the beginning of every new decade. This year it appears Republicans will make substantial gains in large states, although the margins in some states are very narrow.
Currently, Democrats hold 26 state houses, Republicans 23, and Independent one (Crist in Florida). There are 37 contests for governor this year, 19 held by Democrats, 17 by Republicans and one Independent.
Predicted change: Republicans control 29 governorships, Democrats 20, with one Independent.
- Republicans should hold on to state houses in:
Texas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Connecticut, Alaska, Arizona, North Dakota. South Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah
- Predicted takeaways from the Democrats for the GOP:
Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Maine, Massachusetts, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon
- Democrats are predicted to hold on to governorships in:
New York, Maryland, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Colorado
- Democrats will replace Republicans in:
California, Minnesota, Hawaii, Vermont
- An Independent (Lincoln Chafee) is predicted to win in Rhode Island