US leaders wary of one party controlling all levers of government

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Washington, Oct 27 : Democrats are increasingly confident that Barack Obama will cruise to victory on November 4 and that his election will be accompanied by the biggest congressional majorities their party has enjoyed in decades, perhaps even a filibuster-proof 60-seat presence in the Senate.

They have begun to outline an agenda that would center on stimulating the economy in the short term and then move quickly to beginning a US troop withdrawal from Iraq and focusing on domestic priorities such as overhauling the health-care system, the Washington Post reported.

At the same time, party leaders are mindful of the dangers associated with one party controlling all levers of government, particularly given the monumental financial and international problems the next president and a new Congress will inherit.

"The larger the majority, the more likelihood that people think they can go off on their own. But being in the minority for 12 years was probably pretty good for us. We are a party much more aware of the necessity of unity," House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) said.

In their eleventh-hour appeals for ticket splitting, Republicans on the campaign trail are warning of Democratic overreach.

"If I lose this seat and one party has control across the board, then you'll see changes," Senator Norm Coleman told voters last week in Minnesota, where he is trailing comedian-turned-politician Al Franken (D) in several polls.

In North Carolina, imperiled Senator Elizabeth Dole warns in a new television spot that Democrats will "get a blank check" if challenger Kay Hagan wins.

Poll numbers offer the GOP little comfort. The percentage of Americans saying they preferred that the same party control the White House and Congress has reached new highs in the Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll.

On Thursday and Friday, the poll showed that 50 percent of likely voters wanted one party to control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, and that 30 percent preferred split-party rule.

In the House, Democrats could gain 20 to 30 seats, boosting their majority to about 250, and they appear assured of a significant expansion of their Senate ranks.

Margins that wide should ease passage of big initiatives, but divisions within the party will not disappear with a victory on November 4.

ANI

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