Democrats hope for a clean sweep

Democrats are hoping to take a stranglehold on political power in Washington in Tuesday’s election and are all but assured of expanding their majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Demoralized Republicans who fear seeing the White House fall to Democrat Barack Obama are bracing for more pain with the deepening economic crisis set to scythe through their ranks in Congress.

Still reeling from 2006 mid-term polls which saw Democrats wrench away their control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Republicans look set to take further losses in a toxic political climate.

Reverberations from the economic crisis look set to help Democrats widen majorities in both chambers and the party is envisioning years of dominance in Congress.

Just two days from election day, November 4, Democratic congressional candidates are basking in Obama’s momentum while Republicans fail to shake off the unpopular legacy of President George W. Bush.

Democrats are banking on big gains in the Senate, where even conservative estimates show six or seven seats in the 100 strong-chamber are likely to change hands, with several more likely to topple on a really bad night for Republicans.

Current polls suggest that Democrats can expect to add at least 25 seats to their current majority of 36 when all 435 House perches come up for reelection.

Though Democrats have been on top for two years and Congress is held in contempt — its approval ratings hit a historic low of 15 percent in a recent CBS poll — Republicans, as holders of the White House, are carrying the can for the crisis.

The 2008 congressional battlefield was always tilted towards Democrats. By a quirk of the political schedule, 23 Republican seats are up for reelection in the Senate compared to just 12 held by Democrats.

Fearing a Democratic tide, some Republicans in the 100-seat chamber retired. Only one Democratic seat, that of Senator Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, is seen as competitive for Republicans and she looks safe.

Democrats currently enjoy a 51-49 edge in the Senate, with the help of two independents.

It would take a political earthquake for them to hit the magic 60 seats barrier needed to pass major legislation and the power to break Republican filibuster delaying tactics.

Democrats seem a lock to grab seats held by retiring Republicans in Virginia and New Mexico. In Minnesota, comedian Al Franken was up on current Republican Senator Norm Coleman by four points in the latest Rasmussen poll in the state.

New Hampshire political icon Jeanne Shaheen was up eight points in the most recent polling as she attempts to avenge her 2002 defeat at the hands of incumbent John Sununu.

She was set to get a campaign boost next week from Hillary Clinton.

Fierce combat is raging in far western Oregon where Republican Gordon Smith is trying to turn back the Democratic tide and is struggling in the polls.

Republican Bob Schaffer is also behind in Colorado.

Incredibly, Elizabeth Dole, who never expected a fight, looks in trouble in North Carolina against local lawmaker Kay Hagan, with the wife of former Senate old bull Bob Dole now waging a highly negative campaign.

Revenge is in the air in Georgia, with Republican Saxby Chambliss, who ousted Democrat Max Cleland six years ago, only a couple of points up.

Democrats are also seeking an unlikely scalp in Kentucky, where Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is in an unexpectedly close race but is tipped to survive.

Another Republican seat, Alaska, is now unexpectedly within reach. Veteran Republican Senator Ted Stevens was found guilty of corruption in a Washington trial and slumped in the polls.