The winners and losers of US midterm polls

Ballots are counted with a machine at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, Arizona

Unofficial results of the midterm elections have surprised many as most of them broke in the direction of the Democrats because coming into elections, Republicans were favoured due to fundamental factors such as the state of the economy, public mood and feelings about the incumbent.

Associate Professor of Practice at the Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy Asher Hildebrand, noted that despite that advantage, at best it looks like the elections split decision with the Democrats probably maintaining their control of the Senate and Republicans winning a slight majority in the House.

The Sanford school is among America’s leading public policy institutions offering undergraduate, masters and doctoral-level degrees in public, policy, international development and national security policy.

Overall, it’s a picture of Democrats exceeding expectations considerably and Republicans underperforming which was evident in specific races but also on the national level.

According to him, one thing that’s evident for now is that the spectra for Donald Trump is still keeping many independent and some Republican voters in the Democratic camp as opposed to going back to Republicans.

If that spectrum is removed, it’s unclear whether Democrats would have a majority coalition nationally or in specific states, and even if Democrats can take much encouragement from the results as they look ahead to 2024, thinking how to broaden their base beyond just their core one to keep voters.

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Hildebrand: Trump’s political power is waning and his presence is a liability from any Republican candidates

He cited white suburban women who have voted Democrats in recent years but are not necessarily co-democratic supporters to keep them in the fold that’s what’s in their mind.

For Republicans, the big question is Trump and they are still very much appealing among Republican leaders that they don’t want to cross him or his supporters too directly.

 “There is also fear that Trump still wields enough power that they have to at least not to offend him, not to support him but last night to me was clearly evidence that Trump’s political power is waning and that his presence is a liability from any Republican candidates.

“They may still win because of structural advantages, because of polarization but they’re winning less than they could if Donald Trump wasn’t part of the ticket and so what do they do about that; do they call around less the sentence or another alternative do they rally back to support Donald Trump? I think that’s going to be the big question the next two years for the Republicans,” he explained.

Coming into the election in the US Senate, its control will split 50-50 in a system that gives the Democrats the majority because the Vice President serves as the tie breaking vote and it looks like the most likely outcome of the polls will be a continued 50-50 split.

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The Duke University’s SANFORD School of Public Policy campus

However, this will see the Dems picking a Senate seat in Pennsylvania, Republicans perhaps picking up one in Nevada or maybe Georgia.

“You could still see a Republican majority if Republicans win both Nevada and Georgia or you could still see a Democratic 51 vote majority if they win both of those seats so it’s too soon to tell. One thing I would say is that if Democrats run the table and win Nevada and Georgia and Arizona which is still not being called and have 51 votes, the name Joe Mansion will not be spoken as much because for the last two years; Senator Mansion has stood in the way of much of the democratic agenda but if they have 50 votes without Senator Mansion, they will find it much easier at least in the Senate to enact their legislation.

“That might not matter since Republicans will probably control the house but it will be maybe a little less of authority on the side of the democratic leadership”

In the house of the Representatives; the most likely outcome is still a Republican majority with some projections in the 219 out of the 435 seats for majority some projection have them in the sort of middle to 20 but majority and minority leader unlikely

According to the Associate Professor, in key Bellwether races like in North Carolina in the 13th District in Northern Virginia, in the suburbs, in Michigan, in New York state and other places where Republicans were very confident about coming into the elections went instead to Democrats.

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An election worker arrives with ballots to be tabulated inside the Maricopa County Recorders Office, November 9, in Phoenix. (Matt York/AP)

A decade ago, Republicans created a structural advantage through Gerry Mandarin which allowed them to maintain the majority for most of the last decade until 2018. This time around in the latest cycle of redistricting, Democrats in part because of favourable court rulings was far more balanced and this kept them pretty close.

In Maricopa County, Arizona the most populous county in the state there are an estimated 400,000-410,000 remaining ballots to count as of Wednesday night. 

Democrat Eric Sorensen will win in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District; a Democratic hold, CNN projects.  

Sorensen will be the first out gay person elected to Congress from Illinois, CNN projects. Sorensen, a former Rockford and Quad Cities meteorologist, will defeat Republican Esther Joy King in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos. 

According to CNN projections, in the House Democrats now have 188 out of 218 seats needed to control the House.

Latest results indicated that control of the Senate and House still hangs in the balance as all eyes are on undecided Arizona and Nevada Senate races, as Georgia's contest heads to a Dec. 6 runoff.

In the House, several matchups remain tight as results continue to come in.