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IN THE NEWS - Americans Vote Tuesday in Mid-Term Elections

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Balance of power in the upcoming US Elections
Balance of power in the upcoming US Elections

This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.

Americans will vote in elections on Tuesday. They will elect all four hundred thirty-five members of the United States House of Representatives, thirty-seven senators, many state governors and local officials. Political experts say all signs point to major gains by Republican Party candidates in both houses of Congress. The Republicans are hoping to win back control of Congress, which they lost to the Democrats in two thousand six.

President Obama does not stand for re-election until two thousand twelve. But many of his programs may be in trouble if Republicans retake control of the House and make gains in the Senate.

President Obama has been urging Democrats across the country to support their party's candidates in the election.  He also has defended the record of his administration's first two years in office. Former President Bill Clinton gave a similar message when he made campaign appearances for Democratic Party candidates. He said he believes President Obama and Congress have done a better job than most people think they have done.

But Republican leaders say the political energy is on their side this year. Many political experts predict that Republicans will win back control of the House of Representatives, but will fall just short of winning a majority in the Senate.

A new study found that support for President Obama and the Democrats has decreased among some important voting groups. These groups helped them win two years ago. They include women, independent voters and less wealthy Americans. CBS News and The New York Times newspaper reported their findings.

Experts say the public's poor opinion of the national economy, including high unemployment, is the main problem facing Democrats this year.

Democrats have been seeking to increase voters' attention on individual Republican candidates they say are too extreme. Some of these candidates are supported by the conservative and libertarian Tea Party movement.

This year, money in the form of campaign contributions appears to be having more of an influence than ever before. A Supreme Court ruling opened the way for more campaign spending on television advertising by businesses and labor unions. Many television advertisements are paid for by groups not connected with political parties and by wealthy donors who do not have to identify themselves. Many of these television commercials attack a candidate's opponent.

The election campaigns have been some of the costliest ever. For example, Republican Meg Whitman has spent more than one hundred forty million dollars of her own money on her campaign. She is seeking to become governor of California against the state's former governor, Jerry Brown. Independent groups estimate that candidates, parties and independent groups will spend as much as four billion dollars by the time the voting has ended.

And that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.  Go to www.unsv.com and click on the Classroom to explore our new English teaching activities.  I'm Steve Ember.

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Includes reporting by Jim Malone

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