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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 November 2006, 23:32 GMT
US mid-terms at-a-glance: 4/5 November
All you need to know in the final week before the US mid-term elections, with news of key races, issues, quotes and pictures.

For the latest at-a-glance update each day, bookmark this page.

CAMPAIGN CATCH-UP

Battered for months with bad news out of Iraq, the administration may have caught a lucky break only two days out from Election Day - Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death on Sunday, making it likely that his picture will be on the front page of every newspaper in America the day before the vote.

WATCH OUT FOR:
Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in the House (Oct 2006)
The US may get its first female Speaker of the House if the Democrats win

But with many Americans having already made up their minds about the war in Iraq, it is not clear that even an event like this will change opinions about it, the president or his Republican party, experts say.

Heavy hitters in both parties took to the airwaves on Sunday morning, with Vice-President Dick Cheney talking tough on Iraq and insisting that the Democrats had "come up weak" on national security.

But Senator Joe Biden, a top Democratic Party foreign-policy expert, said Mr Cheney was "somewhere between dysfunctional and delusional about this war".

The two parties also traded blows over tax policy, with Republicans warning that the Democrats planned to raise taxes and Democrats denying it.

President Bush and Vice-President Cheney campaigned in solidly Republican states at the weekend, while former President Bill Clinton appeared on Sunday with his wife Hillary, who seems set to win re-election to the Senate in a landslide.

KEY QUOTES

We need to win the war, and it would be disastrous to lose. To pull out and withdraw is losing. The Democrats appear to be content with losing

Elizabeth Dole, who leads the Republican campaign to retain control of the Senate

What Senator Dole is saying is outrageous. Democrats want to win the war, which is why we want to change the strategy

Charles Schumer, her Democratic counterpart

NUMBERS OF NOTE

A Time magazine poll steps back from individual races to focus on underlying trends - and finds almost universally bad news for the Republican party.

The survey suggests that Democrats are more motivated to vote than Republicans - 52% of Democrats saying they are more enthusiastic than usual, while only 39% of Republicans are.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Am I satisfied with the way things are going? No. Do I hope for Democratic control of government? Absolutely not!
Kent Adamson, San Clemente, California, USA

Time's poll also indicates that two key voting blocs are no longer as solidly Republican as they have been in the past.

White evangelical Christians plan to vote Republican by a margin of 54% to 38% - but that is a drop of more than 20 points, since 78% of evangelicals voted for Mr Bush in 2004.

Men also support the Republican party less than they did two years ago, Time's poll suggests. They are now split about 50-50, while they backed Mr Bush over John Kerry 55% to 44% two years ago.

But while the big picture may be bad, Republicans may take comfort in a pair of polls suggesting they are closing the gap. Both ABC/Washington Post and Pew polls found the Democrats' lead narrowing - but not vanishing.

Finally, new figures from the Center for Responsive Politics suggest the elections will cost about $2.8bn, making these the most expensive mid-terms ever.

KEY RACES COUNTDOWN

Barack Obama, the "rock star" senator from Illinois, worked to help Harold Ford win a Senate seat for the Democrats in Tennessee. If he wins, Mr Ford will become the first black senator from the South since the aftermath of the Civil War - but recent opinion polls suggest he is falling behind Republican Bob Corker.

Big names descended on Maryland at the weekend, with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani set to campaign with Gov Bob Ehrlich on Sunday evening, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stumping for Senate candidate Ben Cardin on Saturday.

Her former boss Bill Clinton appeared on behalf of Democrats in Michigan and Florida.

And in the final days of the campaign, many races remain - or have become - too close to call. Republicans are making up ground in the Rhode Island, Montana and Maryland Senate races, while Democrat Jim Webb is polling well in Virginia.

The bellwether state of Missouri remains is a dead heat, with Democrat Claire McCaskill trying to unseat Senator Jim Talent.

For more, see our state-by-state map.

HEADLINES ROUND-UP

Los Angeles Times Voters in center may get their say

New York Times: From Star Power to Blood Sport, Tennessee Senate Race Has It

Washington Post: Exceedingly Social, But Doesn't Like Parties

For more commentary, see our mid-terms blog.

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Hillary and Bill Clinton attend AME Church in Queens, New York on 5 Nov.
Virtually guaranteed of a landslide re-election, Sen Hillary Clinton attends church in Queens, New York, with her husband Bill on Sunday.




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