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 You are in: Special Report: 1998: 09/98: US midterms  
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EDITIONS
US midterms Wednesday, 4 November, 1998, 11:33 GMT
What the papers say
US media
Success for the Democrats says the US media
First editions of the US press herald the elections as a victory for the Democrats, saying they defied expectations and the Presidential sex scandal to upset Republicans in key seats across the country.

The Washington Post's David Broder wrote: "Rather than cashing in on the White House scandal and scoring the normal opposition party gains in the sixth year of a president's term, Republicans saw the building blocks of the Ronald Reagan era - California and the Deep South - captured by their rivals."

[an error occurred while processing this directive]Mr Broder said Democrats who thought they were facing the firing squad must have woken up with a new lease of life.

But the article also pointed to exit polls suggesting that Mr Clinton's fate was not the overriding factor in the voting.

Six out of 10 voters said they were sending no message on impeachment; 20% said they wanted to signal opposition to the president; 19%, to express their support.

According to the New York Times' chief political analyst R. W. Apple Jr, the vote cannot be seen as a barometer of American opinion about their president.

"This was a typical midterm election in the sense that people tended to respond to the candidates themselves and to issues that seemed important locally rather than to national imperatives," he wrote.

But Mr Apple did point out that the public were voting on the very representatives who will be called on to decide whether to impeach President Clinton.

Salon Magazine, an influential San Francisco-based Internet magazine suggested that the robust Democratic showing not only reduces the momentum toward impeachment but turns the tide on the Republicans.

"What was supposed to be a lacklustre, low-turnout election in which Democrats paid for President Clinton's sins with huge losses at the polls turned out instead to be a referendum on the leadership of the 105th Congress - and the news is grim for Republicans.

See also:

30 Oct 98 | US midterms
04 Nov 98 | US midterms
04 Nov 98 | US midterms
04 Nov 98 | US midterms
04 Nov 98 | US midterms
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