Decision Day -- The Latest Results

WEST VIRGINIA: Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd is projected to have beaten Republican challenger John Raese.

VERMONT: Sen. Bernard Sanders, an independent, is projected to have beaten his Republican challenger Richard Tarrant.

VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE and SOUTH CAROLINA: We project that voters in these states have passed referenda defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

For a full tally of the Midterm election results, check out ABC News' ELECTION SCORECARD

High Stakes

On the defensive, Republicans are trying to hold onto control of the House and Senate. They could take comfort from the weather. It was rainy in many battleground states, such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland -- typically considered a good sign for Republican candidates, since their core voters are more likely to brave the elements than the loose coalition the Democrats have traditionally built to win major races.

Democrats hope to gain 15 or more House seats -- enough to give them a majority there for the first time in 12 years. And they are counting on voters who want to send a message to President Bush, whose 40 percent midterm approval rating is worse than that of any president since Harry S. Truman in 1950.

But Democrats may have a harder time gaining the six seats that would give them the Senate. And they worried about polls that suggested some of the momentum they had just a few weeks ago may have slowed.

Polling Results

Some notes from Gary Langer, director of ABC News' Polling Unit:

Preliminary exit poll results indicate that nearly six in 10 voters today disapprove of the way the president is handling his job. About four in 10 approve. That's down from a 53 percent approval in 2004, and 67 percent just before the 2002 midterm election.

About four in 10 "strongly" disapprove of the president's work, more than double the number of strong approvers. Intensity of sentiment by contrast was about equal in 2004 — 33 percent strongly approved of the president's performance, 35 percent strongly disapproved. And in 2002, strong approvers dominated, quite a contrast from today.

The war in Iraq is a serious concern. In preliminary exit poll results, nearly six in 10 voters disapprove of the war, while about four in 10 approve. Approval of the war was higher -- 51 percent -- in the 2004 election. And about four in 10 now "strongly" disapprove of the war, up from 32 percent two years ago.

Related to concerns about the war in Iraq, voters today are more apt to say the country's seriously off on the wrong track than to say it's going in the right direction. The last time this view was more negative than positive was back in 1994.

The president, at least to some extent, is looking like a drag on his party this election. In preliminary exit poll results, voters by more than a 10-point margin are more apt to say they're voting to show opposition to Bush rather than to show him support. More than a third are voting to show opposition to the president. That compares to 21 percent in 1998, during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, and 27 percent in 1994, when the Republicans took control of Congress.

One final note:

There are 15 states with statewide races and no exit polls. In these states, we are basing calls on the actual tabulated vote. Those states are:











New Hampshire



South Carolina

South Dakota

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