Obama braced for defeat in US elections

Feverish campaigning marked the final run-up to US congressional elections that are expected to strip Democrats of their Washington power base today.

President Barack Obama, who is likely to have a tough final two years in office if he loses control of Congress, retreated to the White House from a final blitz through four states to await what was likely to be a dismal outcome for Democrats.

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The party is suffering deeply from voter anger over near-10 per cent unemployment, lagging economic growth and a burst property bubble that cost many Americans their life savings when banks foreclosed on mortgages.

With voters appearing largely decided on candidates, the President and Democratic heavyweights like former President Bill Clinton have travelled the country exhorting party members to vote.

Democrats are seen as far less likely to vote this year than Republicans, producing a so-called enthusiasm gap that has compounded the likelihood of a political bloodletting.