US midterm elections 2018 live: Results of first exit polls amid record turnout - latest news

US midterm elections 2018 live: Results of first exit polls amid record turnout - latest news
A voter in Manhattan - where is has been raining all day

Dr McDonald thinks it will be over 40 million once all the votes are counted. He also thinks we could reach around 45 per cent of the eligible electorate early voting – a high in modern times.

“This is unprecedented what we’re seeing here,” Dr MacDonald said. “We are in uncharted territory at this point.”

He noted that in Arizona, Nevada and Texas early voting has already surpassed the total number of votes cast in those states in the 2014 midterms.

Voter Rene Burciaga casts his ballot in the midterm elections at Sunueva Laundromat in Chicago

It all indicates that both the Democrat and Republican bases are remarkably fired up by today’s races, which are playing out before the backdrop of Mr Trump’s presidency.

Dr McDonald thinks on-the-day turnout could be just as high. “There is a possibility that participation levels will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen in their lifetimes during a midterm election,” he said.

9:23PM


A difficult day for the McCain family

John McCain, a giant of the Republican party, died on August 25 after a long battle with cancer.

His daughter Meghan just posted this reflection.

November 6, 1984 - my Dad showing me off when I’m 15 days old at the polls. My first Election Day of my life without you - miss you so much today Dad. Thank you for always involving me in our amazing American political process and bringing me everywhere you went. ♥️���� pic.twitter.com/RiyQqDOSex

— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) November 6, 2018

9:17PM


Brooklyn poll workers collect paper ballots after machines malfunction

9:08PM


Social media war continues

As Americans vote, misinformation on social media continues to spread widely, Laurence Dodds writes.

Armor, a cybersecurity firm, claims to have uncovered 1,088 Twitter bots which are participating actively in debates around the midterms (725 are pro-Republican, 363 are pro-Democrat). The Mother Jones news website found that 40 per cent of tweets appearing for the search term "MAGA" (as in "Make America Great Again, the slogan of the Trump campaign) appeared to come from automated accounts.

Social networks have been cracking down hard on content which tries to mislead people into not voting, or which spreads false information about when and where to vote. Twitter has deleted more than 10,000 bots which were posting such messages.

Numerous shadowy organisations have also been buying ads against each other, including an unknown group using a picture of Bernie Sanders to urge Democrats to vote Green.

But while some of this activity may be coming from foreign spies (Facebook has taken down 30 accounts plus 35 Instagram accounts, hinting that Russia may be responsible), much of it does not. "it's Americans in 2018," former FBI agent Clint Watts told the Washington Post. "Everyone's witnessed the playbook playing out. Now they don't need Russia so much."

The evidence is that on the most controversial topics, from transgender rights to the Latin American "migrant caravan", it is who create and spread most of the fury and fake news.

8:52PM


Culinary Workers' Union out in force in Nevada

Our man in Nevada, Rob Crilly, reports:

The Republicans may have Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and donor, but the Democrats have possibly the most powerful political force in Nevada. They can count on the thousands of waiting staff, casino porters, hotel cleaners and bar tenders of Las Vegas that are represented by the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 unions. In all, they have more than 57,000 members, a ready made army of door knockers and canvassers.

Their political teams have been working six-day weeks since August getting the word out for Jacky Rosen, the Democratic Senate candidate, and a whole slate of candidates.

Today Culinary Workers Union Local 226 has 350 people getting out the Democratic vote in Las Vegas, where they wield considerable power (because of all the bars, casinos, hotels, restaurants). Spent the day with Ana and Leah on Saturday pic.twitter.com/2ETbDXkTDz

— Rob Crilly (@robcrilly) November 6, 2018

I was out with them on Saturday, when 300 members – operating in pairs – knocked doors of registered Democrats to ensure they would be ready to vote today.

Leah Bailey came from an affiliated union in New Orleans to lend her support.

“This is an election where you can either strengthen Trump’s power or we can weaken it,” she told me.

8:21PM


What are the midterms about?

Our US editor, Ben Riley-Smith, sums it up.

**MIDTERMS THREAD**

Here are 10 tweets summing up where we are, what’s at stake and what to watch for.
(For Brits just tuning in)#ElectionDay#Midterms2018#ElectionDay2018pic.twitter.com/bhCGfHziAE

— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) November 6, 2018

7:58PM


New York voters explain why they voted

7:55PM


Brisk voting in Nevada may set turnout record

From Nevada, Rob Crilly writes:

Polling stations around Nevada are all reporting brisk business. We've just had a bit of a morning lull but queues at the Desert Breeze Pool site are building up as the lunch rush approaches. Voters are waiting for about 20 minutes before reaching the bank of touch screens where they register their choices.

Long lines at the West Sahara Library polling centre in Last Vegas. It was snaking through car park but hot sun means it iw now inside, twisting past book store and art gallery pic.twitter.com/QejrKBqq1B

— Rob Crilly (@robcrilly) November 6, 2018

After 40 percent of voters turned out in early voting it all points to a record level of midterm participation, with perhaps a higher turnout than the 2016 presidential elections. The impact of Trump's presidency is the cause, according to most observers.

"There's so many people who feel that they are voting to save the Republic," said Brittney Miller, a Democratic candidate for the state assembly.

"The most positive thing is that it's driving out people to vote."

7:53PM


Our man in Pennsylvania gets a fright

Tim Stanley writes:

I’m now in my hotel room – advertised as haunted – in Pennsylvania’s first district, centred around Bucks County, northeast of Philadelphia. I nearly crashed my car getting here. The weather is appalling, with driving rain and fog. Received wisdom says this will drive down turnout, but actually it’s been bright and cheerful. My lovely porter voted first thing and says she is usually number 90 in the queue. This year she was number 445. And at a count in Newtown Township, the length of the queue first thing in the morning was one hour and twenty minutes. By the way, whenever a first-time voter casts their ballot, the room applauds.

Donald Trump pumps his fist after putting on a hard hat given to him before speaking to the National Electrical Contractors Association Convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, on October 2

Received wisdom also says that a big turnout means Democrats registering discontent with President Trump, but the local Republicans insist this is not the case. At another Newtown count, the Republican team told me that their goal during the average polling day is to get 30 per cent of their known supporters out to vote – and that by midday they were already at 25 per cent. Their theory is that conservatives are fired up by the treatment of Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. But there’s also supposed to be more moderate appeal for the local congressional candidate, Brian Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is almost the dream candidate: youngish, former FBI, he replaced his brother, Michael, in the seat. The family's first district was redistricted this year, adding, according to local Republicans, about 10-15 per cent more Democrat votes, which they say is jolly unfair.

And that’s why I’ve come here. What was once comfortably Republican is now a swing seat. That's why Fitzpatrick's campaign is burying the fact that he's a Republican with an aggressive "independent" message. But Democrat Scott Wallace - a very wealthy, very progressive opponent - is tying Fitzgerald to Trump obsessively. Wallace is a fascinating figure. He was caught on tape suggesting dogs are smarter than police officers.

Voters in Virginia on Tuesday

So, can an independent-minded Republican like Fitzpatrick overcome suburban anger at Trump? He’s pro-gun control and enjoys countless endorsements from unions and civic groups. What I find fascinating, however, is that most of the Republican activists I met prefer to talk about Trump’s agenda rather than the local issues. Turn on the TV and the message is that America is morally outraged by the President; meet ordinary Republicans and the opposite is true. They think he speaks a lot of sense.

That said, one registered Republican voter told me she had indeed turned out early but – in a rare instance – to vote against her own party. In other words, we really can’t tell what’s going to happen till it’s all over.

7:46PM


Civil rights leader John Lewis casts his vote

John Lewis, the civil rights leader who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and was beaten by police in Selma, Alabama, during the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" demonstration for voting rights, has cast his vote in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mr Lewis, a representative for Georgia, voted for his fellow Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is vying to become the first female black governor in the United States.

Mr Lewis is now the last surviving speaker from the August 1963 March on Washington, which culminated with King's iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.

The contentious gubernatorial race between Ms Abrams, a former leader in the state House of Representatives, and her Republican opponent Brian Kemp, Georgia's secretary of state, has been marred by accusations of voter suppression.

Ms Abrams, 44, wants to mobilise solidly Democratic black voters, who vote sporadically in elections, to form a winning coalition with white liberals.

Underscoring the stakes in Georgia is the unusual attention from national groups seeking to push the party farther left. Their level of early support for Ms Abrams is largely unparalleled among other 2018 gubernatorial and many congressional races.

7:24PM


Early voting surge
The Duchess of Sussex, arriving in Auckland on October 30

But back in November 2016, when living in Toronto and filming Suits, she wrote on her blog about the importance of voting, in a post titled: “Because You Must.”

She said:

"The right to vote is something for which blood, sweat, and tears have been shed; the struggle was endless for us to have this liberty.

“I ticked the boxes on my absentee ballot last week, closing my eyes and thinking of my great grandparents who didn’t have this right (and thinking of how it would have changed the lives of my grandparents if they had).

“So on this day we urge you to exercise said right. Please vote. The fact that we can makes us the lucky ones.”

And last week, in New Zealand, she made clear her views on the importance of voting at an event to celebrate New Zealand’s 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

The Duchess of Sussex addresses a reception hosted by the Governor-General celebrating the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand at Government House on October 28

“The achievements of the women of New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote, and were the first in the world to achieve it, are universally admired.

“In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolises.

“Because yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.

“Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community, the involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world that you are a part of.”

7:05PM


Who will make their mark this midterm?

Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who has written books on Lincoln, Johnson, and the Roosevelts, points out that the midterms have in the past seen the emergence of some highly significant figures.

In 1858, a little known lawyer from Kentucky named Abraham Lincoln made his mark as a challenger in the midterms - even though he lost.

Abraham Lincoln rose to national attention following his performance in the 1858 midterms - even though he did not win

In 1898 it was Theodore Roosevelt who shone - his victory in the race for New York governor over Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Augustus Van Wyck was a narrow one, but Republican leaders realised he had a mandate to chart his own course. In the 1900 they worked to get him on the ticket as William McKinley's running mate - setting him on course for the presidency when McKinley was assassinated less than a year later.

And Franklin Delano Roosevelt's triumph in the 1930 midterms - when he was re-elected as governor of New York by a landslide - made him the obvious candidate for the presidential elections in 1932.

6:34PM


Ride sharing and bicycling help to get to the polls

In New York City, Citibike are allowing people to use the bikes for free to get to the polls.

It's #ElectionDay and we want to help New Yorkers get out and vote! Pedal to the polls today with a FREE Citi Bike Day Pass.

Select "Day Pass" in the Citi Bike app and enter the promo code “BIKETOVOTE” to claim! More details here: https://t.co/xI9Ptm5jj6pic.twitter.com/I9Zhnv5Z4F

— Citi Bike (@CitiBikeNYC) November 6, 2018

Ride share companies are doing their bit in Nevada and across the states to help get out the vote.

Lyft users can enter the code “VOTENV” on their mobile app to receive up to $5 off their ride, while Uber users can input the code “VOTE2018” to receive up to $10 off a lift to a voting centre.

6:28PM


Voting machines malfunction in Georgia

Voters at Annistown Elementary School in Gwinnett County, Georgia, waited in line for more than three hours after voting machines malfunctioned, according to local reporters.

Video from the polling place shows voters waiting as machines were repaired. One voter distributed snacks to those in line. Despite the wait, some were excited and waved at the camera, saying, “We’re still here. We ain’t going nowhere.”

The midterm fight has been especially heated in Georgia, where Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp have faced off in a tight race for governor.

6:26PM


Midterms elections are ‘about healthcare,’ says House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi

6:24PM


The view from Nevada

Our correspondent in Nevada, Rob Crilly, reports:

Democrats in Nevada think they have enough of an edge already from two weeks of early voting to help them secure the state’s Senate seat. It is pretty much a must win if they are to have any hope of snatching control of the upper house.

The Republican Dean Heller is the only GOP incumbent defending a Senate seat in a state that backed Hillary Clinton in 2016, making him vulnerable to the army of cooks and cleaners and waiting staff that work in Las Vegas and tend to break Democrat.

Voters in Las Vegas are at the heart of a fierce battle for the Senate

The polls suggest the outcome is too close to call. But so far Democrats have a lead of 47,000 in Clark County (which includes Las Vegas) which they will need to hold off a Republican surge in more rural counties.

As so often the outcome may well come down to turnout. Democrats will need the Hispanic vote to hold up rather than dropping off as it so often does in midterms.

5:52PM


Bob Menendez, Democrat senator, votes in tough New Jersey contest

5:23PM


Fired-up Americans vote early in record numbers

Voter turnout, normally lower when the White House is not at stake, could be the highest for a midterm election in 50 years, experts predicted.

About 40 million early votes were likely cast, said Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who tracks the figures.

Voters lined up before dawn in Owasso, Oklahoma

In the last such congressional elections in 2014, there were 27.4 million early votes.

“I have worked at this poll the last three elections and this is the biggest turnout ever. We usually hope for 200 voters for the entire day, but by 9 o'clock we already have had 69," said Bev Heidgerken, 67, a volunteer at a polling place in Davenport, Iowa.

5:11PM


Virginia voters give their verdict

4:34PM


How will Trump be hurt if Democrats take the House?

Hello from the nation's capital where it has been pouring down with rain for the last few hours, Ben Riley-Smith writes from Washington, DC

Portentous, perhaps – but for which side?

Happy voting day from Washington, where it is raining cats and dogs. #Midterms2018#ElectionDaypic.twitter.com/n388m4QU6p

— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) November 6, 2018

While Americans stream to the polls in what looks like historic numbers, it is worth unpacking one of the most likely scenarios – the Democrats taking back the House of Representatives.

Such a result would hurt Donald Trump’s presidency in three obvious ways….

One – Laws. Mr Trump’s domestic legislative agenda would grind to a halt. He needs majority votes in both the House and the Senate to pass any legislation. That has been hard enough for the last two years when Republicans held both bodies. If the Democrats take the House, that becomes even harder.

What would that mean? It will be harder to secure funding for the US-Mexico border wall, for starters. That was a key Trump election pledge which he is yet to properly deliver. Any hopes of a second tax cut – Mr Trump has floated a 10 per cent cut for the middle classes during the campaign, though with very little detail – would also be dimmed.

Two – Investigations. When a party takes control of the House they also take control of the House’s committees. The committees have the power to launch investigations and subpoena witnesses to give evidence. In the last two years, Republicans have been able to block any probes that could damage Mr Trump. That ends if Democrats take the House.

A list of possible Democrat investigations drawn up by Republicans include probes into the president’s tax returns, dealings with Russia, migrant family separation policy, dismissal of FBI director James Comey, travel ban, response to the Puerto Rico hurricane and much, much more.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to lead the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. His shadow looms large over these midterms

Three – Impeachment. This is still a very distant prospect. Few leading Democrats are publicly proposing to start impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump. In fact it has been the Republicans playing up such a threat, hoping it will motive their base to vote in the midterms.

However there is no doubt that, on the raw numbers, the chance of impeachment rises if the Democrats hold the House. It is here where impeachment proceedings would begin. Having political opponents in charge increases the threat to Mr Trump.

But one final point. There are whispers that losing the House could, in a Machiavellian way, actually help Mr Trump in his quest for re-election in 2020. He would finally have a tangible ‘enemy on the inside’ in Washington who he can blame all his administration’s shortcomings on.

4:29PM


Beto-mania in El Paso

Beto O’Rourke meeting voters at a polling station in El Paso, Texas, coffee mug in hand pic.twitter.com/gNj0HIO3DS

— nick allen (@nickallen789) November 6, 2018

4:26PM


Candidate who died three weeks ago set to win in Nevada

From Nevada, Rob Crilly writes:

Dennis Hof is the favourite to win the state senate seat in Nevada’s thirty-sixth district. The “Trump of Pahrump” and owner of multiple of legal brothels used all his gifts of self-promotion to shrug off allegations of rape and misogyny, using book deals and TV shows to create a winning public image. The Republican was one of the most compelling characters on the ballot even before he died three weeks before polling day.

Dennis Hof died three weeks ago at one of his brothels after a birthday party - but is still expected to be elected

The 72-year-old star of HBO’s Cathouse was found dead after a night of campaigning and partying – Joe Arpaio, the controversial sheriff and Trump favourite, was among the guests – at his Love Ranch brothel. (Not to be confused with the nearby Moonlite Bunnyranch.)

His name remains on the ballot and his deceased status seems not to have affected his chances of winning. Which means should he emerge victorious that local officials will choose another Republican to fill the seat.

4:19PM


Donald Trump emails...

(See 1:39pm...!)

Friend,

I am forwarding you an email I sent on November 8, 2016…

I asked all of our supporters across America to make ONE FINAL CONTRIBUTION to help in the most important races that would decide the election, and ultimately, the fate of our nation.

Donald Trump amid a cheering crowd on Monday evening in Indiana

Over 500,000 supporters stepped up. And if they never did, I would not be writing to you today as your President.

I will never forget these patriots.

So today I ask you to make one more EMERGENCY contribution and again be remembered as someone who believed in us despite the media’s predictions.

4:17PM


Beto O'Rourke says first time voters will decide the election

More from Nick Allen in El Paso, Texas at a polling station with Beto O'Rourke.

Mr O'Rourke said he thought first time voters would propel him to victory over Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

He said: "I'm so grateful to all of these first time voters who are going to decide this election.

"Voting among those aged 18 to 29 is up 500 per cent in Texas from the last midterm election. I can't count how many people have come up and said this is the first election they will vote in.

"We just met a young man right now who said 'You're the first person I ever voted for, so it feels good, feels really good."

Beto O'Rourke outside the polling station at El Paso Community College-Rio Grande Campus

Mr O'Rourke planned to spend the rest of election day going to polling locations and bringing food and water to volunteers.

"Then after the clock strikes 7.01pm and the polls close we'll get together as a family and look at some of the returns," he said,

After voting Mr O'Rourke and his wife Amy walked their children to school nearby, stopping to greet voters along the way.

Turning to his young son Mr O'Rourke said: "What do you make of all this? It's a bit nuts ain't it?"

4:02PM


Beto O'Rouke votes in Texas - Says he "feels" victory

Beto O'Rouke, the Democrat candidate in Texas, the most closely watched senate race in the country, was up at the crack of dawn to vote, Nick Allen writes in El Paso, Texas.

Mr O'Rourke, coffee mug in hand, arrived with his family at a polling station at a community college a short walk from the Mexican border and the Rio Grande.

Beto O'Rourke arrives to vote in El Paso, Texas

Speaking after casting his ballot he said: "Texas is not going to be defined by our fears, we're going to be governed by our ambitions.

"We're going to be focused on the future. We just do not care about the differences between us right now. We want Republicans and Democrats and Independents alike to come together and do something great for this country

"That's what I've heard from the people of Texas over the last 22 months. That's what folks are voting for today."

Asked "Are you expecting to win?" Mr O'Rourke replied "Yes!"

He added: "I don't have a poll, I don't have a pollster. But I've traveled to every single county in Texas, listened to everybody, have so many amazing volunteers knocking on millions of doors, making that human to human connection that we're in such desperate need of at this moment of division in this country.

"It's bringing people together, I feel it. Yep, feels good."

3:59PM


Donald Trump says he would prefer a softer tone as president - but he has "no choice"

3:57PM


Joe Biden votes in Delaware: "This is the single most important election of my lifetime"

Joe Biden has just voted, at a high school near his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

He has been one of the most high-profile campaigners ahead of the midterms, and speculation is growing that he will run for the presidency in 2020.

I don't know and I still don't know.

I think I'll make a decision in early January.

Joe Biden, campaigning back in March for Conor Lamb in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Asked when he'll make a formal announcement of his decision, he says - again - that he doesn't know.

This is the single most important election of my lifetime.

It's not just about single issues, it's the values of the country. I really believe this.

Politics has got too nasty. It's too base. This appeal to nativism, nationalism - phony nationalism - racism; it has to stop. We have to put some brakes on it.

Biden is asked how he thinks it'll go today.

He says he supports Nancy Pelosi as the House leader, saying she has "done a hell of a job", but that it's for them to decide.

I'll be dumbfounded it we lose the House. I think we'll pick up six governor seats in the Mid West.

I hope Brett in Tennessee will pull it out. I think we're still in play for the Senate - I'd say it's 50:50.

I think we'll see a number of Republicans, when this is over, distance themselves from Trump in terms of the harsh rhetoric.

He says he thinks there a lot of really good candidates for 2020 - mentioning Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama, as Obama presented his vice president with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in January 2017

And how does Joe Biden spend election night?

With my family, watching on a big TV.

I've already picked up the phone and spoke to around 25 candidates, wishing them well.

I don't think Trump learns lessons. He has one speed; what is good for Donald Trump. It doesn't matter.

Asked if he thinks Trump will challenge the legitimacy of the vote if he loses, he laughs.

Of course he will! He's still arguing over inauguration crowd sizes! He's... he's an interesting guy.

3:40PM


Andrew Gillum: "I voted for me!"

Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, has just voted with his wife. He's brought his children along.

He is hoping to be the first black governor of Florida.

Us winning tonight will send a message to Mr Trump and Mr DeSantis that the politics of hatred and division has ended. We'll worry about history later.

GILLUM VOTES: A crowd gathers at a Tallahassee, FL church to watch gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum cast his v… https://t.co/5Yf6JUVTHh

— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 6, 2018

He continues:

We're extremely excited. This has been a long journey - 21 months, across the country.

We were there yesterday in the Pan Handle, talking to folks who might not vote for me, but that's OK - I want them to know we plan to work on their behalf too.

We're going to grow an economy where people can work one job rather than two or three to make ends meet. Where folks can earn, and take a vacation every once in a while.

When we talk about a recovery, we want a recovery for everyone, not just the few.

3:16PM


Tears in Texas for Beto

Pamela Aguirre, 77, is in tears on MSNBC as she talks about why she's voted for Beto O'Rourke in Texas - he's aiming to oust Ted Cruz from the Senate.

Pamela Aguirre greets Beto O'Rourke outside the polling station in El Paso

"He's everything that Donald Trump isn't," she said, beaming through tears in her orange woolly hat, and proudly showing off her "Beto for Senate" t-shirt.

She's wheeled her oxygen tank down to the polling station in El Paso - O'Rourke's hometown.

Beto O'Rourke, campaigning in Texas

What would it mean for you if he won?

"We want him to win. And we'll be watching the tv tonight.

"It will mean so much - by gosh, that we still have a chance to have a decent country, with decent values, and decent people."

3:11PM


Andrew Gillum votes in historic Florida governor's race

Andrew Gillum has just entered the polling station in Tallahassee - the state capital of Florida.

He's aiming to become the first black governor of the state, in one of the most eagerly-watched - and vicious - campaigns in the US.

Andrew Gillum, campaigning in Florida

My colleague Rozina Sabur explains why it matters here.

She writes:

An anti-establishment Republican backed by Donald Trump and a black Democrat endorsed by Bernie Sanders will face each other in Florida's gubernatorial election in November.

The race, in the country's biggest swing state, is a sign of the increasing polarisation among voters during the Trump administration with sharp divides over issues like immigration, the environment and health care.

Florida is the country's third most populous state after California and Texas and will be a decisive vote in the next presidential election, where the US president won by just one percentage point in 2016.

2:09PM


America votes
Bernie Sanders is up for re-election as senator for Vermont - a safe seat

So our job today, if you have not already, is to vote -- and to encourage the people you know to do the same.

Today’s election is the most important midterm election in the modern history of the United States.

Together, we can put an end to the reactionary Trump agenda and move our country forward to rebuilding the declining middle class. We can create a Congress which stands for economic, political, racial and environmental justice, not for oligarchy or authoritarianism.

Those are the stakes.

1:34PM


President Trump has the worst pre-midterm approval rating in modern history

- but will that translate to the "blue wave" the Democrats are so hoping for?

President Trump has the *worst pre-election approval rating in modern history* immediately before his first midterm election via new @CNN poll and Gallup trend:

W Bush 63%
Eisenhower 61%
Kennedy 61%
Nixon 58%
HW Bush 58%
Carter 49%
Obama 46%
Clinton 46%
Reagan 43%
Trump 39%

— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) November 5, 2018

1:25PM


Polling stations now open

Polls start closing at 6pm ET (11pm UK) in Kentucky.

But things will really get rolling an hour later, when polls close in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Virginia.

Another wave of numbers will begin coming in after 7:30pm (12:30am UK) from North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia.

A big chunk of data will come after 8pm and 9pm ET when states such as Texas, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania begin reporting.

The 11pm (4am UK) batch of states includes California, home to several competitive congressional races.

Alaska, where polls close at 1am on Wednesday (6am UK), will end the night.

1:09PM


Why is Pennsylvania so competitive? Our very own Tim Stanley reports from foggy Philly

Good morning from a foggy Philadelphia in east Pennsylvania. I’ve come here because the Democrats’ path to control of the House runs through this state. Nationally, the Dems need to flip 23 Republican controlled districts to win the House of Representatives – and four of those possible gains are located in this state.

Why is Pennsylvania so competitive? First, it’s a bellwether area. Generally speaking Pennsylvania is Democrat: we expect the Dems to win the governorship and a senate seat easily today. But Trump surprised everyone by winning the state in 2016, thanks to support from rural areas and “rust-belt” industrial towns. Pennsylvania is the archetype of “two Americas” politics: liberal suburbs and big cities vs the populist coalition. Advantage is thought to currently lie with the liberals, thanks in part to the horrendous shooting at a synagogue that has been blamed on Trump’s rhetoric.

But there’s a simpler reason why this state could send so more Democrats to the House this year: redistricting.

For the past seven years the Republicans have cheated. There’s no other way of putting it. In 2011 they redrew the congressional map to give themselves a huge advantage, burying islands of Democrat support in vast seas of Republican red, giving the Republicans 13 out of 18 seats in three straight elections. The state supreme court has now ruled that map unconstitutional. The new districts are geographically coherent and balanced, forcing Republican incumbents to defend new seats with new voters. Arguably, the Pennsylvania supreme court has handed the Democrats one-fifth of the representatives they need to take the House.

I’m going to have some coffee and go in search of a competitive district. See you later!

Read more from Tim: The best result for America is if nobody wins the midterms

1:04PM


God, guns... and chainsaws: Meet the 'Mini-Trump' candidates hoping to storm midterms

Their campaign adverts feature pledges of undying loyalty to Donald Trump, commitments to save America from socialism, and even lessons for their kids on how to build walls, writes Nick Allen, Washington Editor.

From the candidate promising to round up illegal immigrants in his own truck, to the one who dressed his toddler in a Make America Great Again onesie, they have echoed, and amplified, Mr Trump's rhetoric on every issue.

The Republican primary season earlier this year, when these candidates were selected, demonstrated Mr Trump's tightening stranglehold on the party, with politicians in his image being chosen over more established, moderate figures.

Going into the mid-term elections those firebrand "Trump mini-mes" will carry the Republican torch, hoping to be swept to victory by the president's fabled base.

Loyalty has already been rewarded, with Mr Trump lauding his imitators on Twitter, and travelling to their states for campaign events.

On Nov 6 they will discover whether their constituencies want homegrown versions of Mr Trump, or if one is enough.

Read the full article here

1:01PM


How women are shaping the US midterms
Republican Barbara Comstock waves to constituents during the annual Haymarket Day parade in Haymarket, Virginia Credit: Alex Wong/Getty

In this, the wealthiest of all America’s 3,007 counties, average income is $134,464. A Confederate statue stands proudly in the middle of Leesburg, its main town. The headquarters of the National Rifle Association is a short drive away.

But amid the leafy cul-de-sacs rebellion is stirring. On the manicured lawns, Democrat signs are proliferating like rapacious weeds.

Read the full article here.

11:29AM


'Betomania' erupts in El Paso, Texas as Ted Cruz maintains narrow lead in polls

It's going down to the wire in the Texas senate race, probably the most watched individual contest of the midterms, Nick Allen writes in El Paso, Texas.

El Paso, a sleepy city on the Mexican border, is the home town of Beto O'Rourke, the Democrat candidate.

"Betomania" erupted on Monday night as Mr O'Rourke held his final election eve rally at a university there.

The skateboard loving, former punk rocker was introduced by a Mariachi band and then bounded on stage, high-fiving supporters.

As he spoke Mr O'Rourke was drowned out by cheers. Some in the packed auditorium were weeping as they waved "Viva Beto" signs.

"We are days away from achieving something incredible in Texas," Mr O'Rourke, said, his voice hoarse from months of campaigning. "If we keep this up then tomorrow night we will be celebrating the victory of our lifetimes."

He called it an election that "will define the future not just of Texas, but of this country, not just this generation, but every generation that follows". With a thumbs up he shouted: "Let's win this!"

Outside the rally Mr O'Rourke told journalists he would campaign until the last minute.

Putting his arm around his wife Amy, he said: "We're giving it all we've got, as we have done from the very first day."

US Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke and his wife Amy Sanders  Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Jaymee Rivas, a student in the crowd, said: "It was very emotional. Being a millennial he gives me so much more hope than I recently had."

Nearly five million people have already cast ballots in early voting in Texas amid record turnout.

Polls show Mr O'Rourke three points behind Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent, in a state where a Republican loss had, until recently, been unthinkable.

Mr Cruz's final day events included a stop at the Redneck Country Club, a saloon in suburban Houston

He called Mr O'Rourke a "crazy left wing activist" to chants of "Veto Beto".

Mr Cruz, 47, said: "The far left is angry and they are coming after jobs, they are coming after freedom, they are coming after security.

"The economy in the state of Texas booming. Who in their right mind would want to screw it up?"

Mr O'Rourke built a $70 million war chest, becoming the best funded US senate candidate in history, and vastly outspending Mr Cruz in what is the most expensive senate race of 2018.

11:25AM


The polls are open - and the queues are long

At 6am EST, Americans began entering polling stations to vote in the 2018 midterm elections.

They mark the first major voter test of Donald Trump's presidency, with control of Congress at stake.

As polling stations opened around 20 minutes ago on the East Coast, Republicans were keenly aware that losing their majority will hamstring his political agenda over the next two years.

Even at 6am in Indiana, there were huge queues at stations as people waited to cast their vote before heading to work.

It’s Election Day and I’m in line at 6:05 AM.....probably should have voted early. It seems to be a great turnout at the polls both early and late. #VoteTuesdaypic.twitter.com/2CI1INPSMO

— Matt Hines (@matthines10) November 6, 2018

11:17AM


Key issue five: immigration

Immigration has been a pillar of the Trump presidency.

Harriet Alexander, The Telegraph's US Correspondent, reports on travel bans, immigration in numbers and one of the most contentious topics of his time in the White House - the Mexico-US border wall.

11:12AM


Key issue four: foreign policy

Perhaps the most explosive strand to Donald Trump's presidency has been his approach to foreign policy.

From tearing up the US-Iran deal to his commitment to wipe out Islamic State and from the dramatic shift in diplomacy with North Korea to the lingering issue of alleged Russian collusion, The Telegraph's US Editor Ben Riley-Smith analyses the president's tenure so far.

10:52AM


Key issue three: abortion

With Americans divided either side of the abortion debate, the liberal left are rising against Mr Trump and his supreme court - the most Conservative for decades.

Rozina Sabur, The Telegraph's Washington Correspondent, reports on the pro-life and pro-choice arguments from the only abortion clinic left in Kentucky.

10:32AM


Key issue two: trade

Almost two years ago, The president entered the Oval Office and vowed to shake up American trade.

The Telegraph's US Editor Ben Riley-Smith reports on how Mr Trump has remained true to his word.

10:15AM


Key issue one: gun control

During Donald Trump's presidency, there have been a number of high-profile mass shootings, including the Las Vegas and Parkland massacres.

Here, The Telegraph's Washington Editor Nick Allen takes a look at the emotive issue of gun control in the US.

10:06AM


US midterms 2018: Polling times

Here are the timings, state-by-state, of when polling stations open and close for the midterms:

Barack Obama's agenda was curtailed by Republicans once they regained the House and Senate Credit: AFP

However, the Republicans won back the House in 2010 which placed a significant curb on his ability to pass key legislation for the rest of his time in office.

In 2014, the Republicans also regained control of the Senate, boosting their House majority to its largest since 1929 along the way.

Democrats are currently enjoying an eight-point lead in polls and with a record number of women, veterans and ethnic minorities running for office, the face of the US Congress could look very different in January.

However, the Democrats' success is based on the party's ability to mobilise their base: the midterm electorate is traditionally whiter, older and more conservative.

9:21AM


What are the key issues deciding the races?

The economy, immigration and impeachment are the issues getting most play on the campaign trail.

The US economy is booming, with low unemployment rates and rising wages. However Mr Trump's tax cuts for corporations have increased the country's deficit by 33 per cent in the last year to $895 billion.

Immigration is a divisive issue, with Democrats keen to highlight the Trump administration's decision to separate migrant children from their parents as part of its "zero-tolerance" policy. They hope it will entice younger voters and minorities to vote against the president's party.

Republicans have warned Democrats would like to see immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) officials scrapped, which they say will lead to weak borders as they appeal to voters.

Ultimately, this election will be seen as a temperature test for Mr Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

This has already played out in this summer's primaries - where party members pick their candidates - with pro-Trump, anti-establishment figures winning against the Republican's old guard.

On the Democrat side, populist progressives who are vocal in their opposition to the president - even calling for his impeachment - have been gaining ground on the party's centrists.

9:15AM


How do midterms work and how will Trump be affected?

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be voted on in November. Representatives serve two-year terms so the entire house will face re-election in 2020.

Some 35 out of the Senate’s 100 seats will be on the ballot and 36 state governors are up for election. Senators hold six-year terms.

Donald Trump speaks during an Ohio Republican Party State Dinner in Columbus, Ohio Credit: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg

There are also a number of state-wide and local offices being elected on the same day.


How will they affect Donald Trump's presidency?

The elections will shape US politics for at least the next two years.

A Republican-controlled Congress will make the final two years of Mr Trump’s first term much smoother – giving him the power to continue funding his border wall with Mexico, pass further tax cuts and make another attempt to repeal Obamacare.

If Democrats regain control, they will fiercely oppose a number of Mr Trump's key policies. If they win enough seats, the Democrats could kill the Republican legislative agenda on Capitol Hill.

A Democratic majority would also see the party gain seats on Congressional committees with the power to investigate the Trump administration.

Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a rally in Springfield, Missouri Credit: Neeta Satam/Bloomberg

This year's state-wide races are incredibly important too, since they will give the party in office power over the 2021 redistricting process - the system by which voting areas are decided.

Republicans are most likely to lose control of the House of Representatives as all 435 seats are up for election. Dozens of Republican representatives are retiring and the Democrats only need around 24 more seats to take control of the lower chamber.

Mr Trump's party is likely to retain its majority in the Senate as only 35 of the 100 seats are up for election, 26 of which are already held by Democrats.

Democrats would have to win all its Senate races and pick up two Republican seats in order to swing the majority - a tall order.

9:05AM


Why this year's congressional elections matter

November's midterm elections will mark two years since Donald Trump's shock election victory – the first test of how his Republican party is faring in the eyes of the American public.

The midterms is the name given to the combination of elections for the US Congress, governorships and local races that take place every two years.

Republicans currently control the House of Representatives and the Senate – the two chambers which make up the US Congress. But pundits have suggested the elections may see a so-called “blue wave” of Democrats sweeping into power.

A liberal base hoping to derail Mr Trump's agenda has energised activists in key races, out-fundraising and out-polling a host of Republican incumbents.

Donald Trump points at the crowd at the end of his rally on Monday Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP

The elections mark the mid point in a president's four-year term – and this year they will be held on Tuesday November 6.

Although Mr Trump is not on the ballot, in many ways the results will be seen as a referendum on his accomplishments and how voters feel about the US president.

To read more on why the Midterms matter, read Rozina Sabur's analysis here.

http://sg.news.yahoo.com/us-midterm-elections-2018-live-090049649.html