The US Midterms 2018: Everything You Need To Know About Trump's Key Election Test

5 November 2018, 09:50 | Updated: 5 November 2018, 10:52

Donald Trump outside the Capitol Building
Donald Trump outside the Capitol Building. Picture: PA

On Tuesday, people in the US go to the polls in the midterm elections, labelled the most important midterms in history. Here is everything you need to know about the vital polls.

The midterms act as a test of how a President is performing - meaning it will be a key check on Donald Trump's controversial Presidency.

So what do they mean and what are the experts' predictions? LBC rounds up everything you need to know.

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When are the American midterms?

Americans go to the polls on Tuesday 6th November to vote in the midterm elections.

In most states, early voting has been open for a number of days already, so many people have already placed their votes.

When will we get midterm results?

The results won't be immediate. Due to the size of some states, don't expect to get results until the early hours of Wednesday morning, UK time.

Some key districts should declare results earlier than that, meaning that we should have a good idea of who will win the House of Representatives by midnight on Tuesday night.

What are the American midterms?

The US has two houses of Congress. The lower house, the House of Representatives serve two-year terms, so all 435 seats are up for re-election every 24 months.

The upper House, the Senate, have six-year terms, so one-third of the Senators - 35 of the 100 seats - are up for re-election.

What is the difference between the House of Representatives and the Senate?

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have to pass a bill for it to become law.

There are 435 members of the House of Representatives - these are the closest equivalents to UK MPs. They are there to represent their local population in Congress and are the person that you should go to if you have a problem with how the country is being run. These are re-elected every two years.

There are only two Senators per state and they represent the interests of the state. Senators are re-elected every six years.

An "I Voted" sticker from the midterms
An "I Voted" sticker from the midterms. Picture: PA

What do the US midterms polls say?

The polls tend to give the Democrats around a 6-7-point lead over the Republicans. However, their lead appears to be shrinking in recent weeks.

Professor of American Politics Scott Lucas told LBC: "I think this will be an unprecedented turnout for a midterm election given that they may be the most important in US history.

"So if you get a surge on the Republican side, they could keep hold of both houses. But if you get a surge against Trump and supporting the Democrats, the Democrats could take both houses and that would be a huge check on Donald Trump's ambitions."

What does 538 say about the US midterms?

The most trusted polling analysts are fivethirtyeight.com and they are predicting a split decision.

Their data shows that the Democrats will take the lower House of Representatives, but the Republicans will hold a slim majority in the Senate.

But it's worth pointing out that that is what 538 also predicted in the 2016 US Election - and we all know how that turned out.

What are the bookies' odds on the midterms?

Bookmakers make the Democrats odds-on favourites to win the House of Representatives, while making the Republicans 2/1.

Donald Trump at a rally ahead of the midterms
Donald Trump at a rally ahead of the midterms. Picture: PA

What will happen if Donald Trump and the Republicans lose the US midterms?

This would result in an almighty political war in the US and serve as a huge check on what Donald Trump can achieve.

Without controlling one of the houses, he would rely on a Democrat-controlled house to pass his bills and with the current animosity between the two parties. And with the 2020 election on the horizon, that is likely to prove extremely difficult, meaning he will struggle to make any significant changes over the next two years.

What will happen if Donald Trump and the Republicans win the US midterms?

If the Republicans hold control of both houses, President Trump would see the result as a complete vindication of everything he has done so far.

That means he is likely to continue down the same route he is currently going in order to solidify his voting base ahead of the US elections in November 2020.

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