Washington, Oct 23 (UNI) US President George Bush appears confident of his Republican Party's victory on November 7 Congressional elections even as pollsters predict that the opposition Democrats will prevail, cashing in on the raging public discontent over the Iraq war.
"I can't tell you what the margins (of victory) are going to be. But I believe our candidates will go out and talk about the issues that matter and we will win," he said in an interview to ABC television yesterday.
Meanwhile, a Newsweek magazine poll says that more than half of Americans - 55 per cent - would like to see Democrats take control of Congress, ending the decade-long dominance of the Republican Party.
With barely two weeks left for the polls, the Iraq war continues to be a dominant campaign issue, virtually denying the ruling party the benefits of the good economy that should normally accrue to it.
Indications are that Democrats may win at least one of the two houses of the Congress, most probably the House of Representatives.
President Bush, however, said he had heard all the "speculation and all the predictions." He believed the Republican candidates would stick with the security issue and tell the American people "we have got the plan to protect this country against these terrorists who want to hit us, and talk about the economy, they will do just fine." The Republican Party wants to fight the election on the security issue. "Republicans are doing a far better job of protecting the American people than Democrats ever could," President Bush said.
Democrats are banking on what they call a strong desire for change among the voters which is fueled by the discontent with the war in Iraq.
Republican leaders admit that Iraq has become a big election issue and, in response, President Bush and other leaders have begun to hint possible changes in the policy instead of repeating the old line of "staying the course in Iraq." Meanwhile, the New York Times, in a front page report today, says though the Republicans fully expect to lose seats, they are also keeping their fingers crossed. "They are continuing on a barrage of last-minute advertising and their 72-hour voter turnout operation to keep Democrats from taking over the House and Senate even if it means they only eke out a victory," it says.
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