Results have still been coming in and our live maps and charts are continuing to update, showing the progress of both races.
When we started it seemed like the Democrats were likely to lose the House and probably the Senate too.
The latest estimate from NBC News has the Republicans winning 222 House seats compared with the Democrats’ 213, meaning they would still take control but with much less authority than the 40+ gains anticipated by some pollsters. And a Democrat win is still within the margin of error.
The race for the Senate is also very much in the balance, with just four seats left to declare. Georgia’s race is set for a run-off on 6 December so we may have to wait until then for the final standings.
There has been the odd notable gain for the Republicans in certain seats, for example Jen Kiggans defeating January 6 investigator Elaine Luria in Virginia’s battleground 2nd district.
But much of the picture is muddied by the redistricting that has taken place since the 2020 election. Many of the seats listed as ‘gains’ are new districts entirely or represent geographies almost unrecognizable to ones they’ve replaced.
These gains, for both parties although benefiting the Republicans overall, don’t necessarily reflect the shifting of Americans’ political preferences but the adjustment of the American political map.
Although the map above looks fairly well soaked-through in Republican red, that too can be misleading.
Each seat has a similar population to each other, but some are much smaller than others geographically. Usually that’s in city areas where there’s a denser population.
This map shows each district as the same size as each other, which can give a better sense of the balance of power across the country.
House of Representatives results
The race for the Senate
The balance of power in the Senate was always expected to be poised more delicately than the House, and with just four seats left to declare we’re not much closer to working out who will come out on top.
The Democrats made a potentially crucial gain in Pennsylvania but the Republicans managed to hold out in a tight race in Wisconsin – a state won by President Biden in 2020.
We won’t get the result from Georgia until after 6 December, because state rules dictate that if no candidate reaches 50% the top two must fight again in a run-off vote.
Given the win in Pennsylvania, the Republicans need to flip two of the three remaining Democrat seats to take control – Arizona, Nevada and Georgia. So if one party wins both of Nevada and Arizona that second Georgia vote won’t matter quite as much.
Including those seats which weren’t up for election this year, this is how the balance of the Senate will look until the 2024 election.
The six states with a split Senate delegation during the last two years was the fewest in more than a century, something which the Pew Research Center said is a “reflection of the partisan polarization that has reshaped American politics” in recent decades.
As Pennsylvania now has two Democratic senators we could be on for a new low this year.
The question is Why aren’t all states having elections?
What does this mean for Donald Trump?
The former president is yet to officially announce his intention to run for election again but is still the bookies’ favorite to win in 2024.
Although he is less prominent on social media these days he certainly hasn’t shied away from politics. Over the course of the campaign for these midterm elections he has issued endorsements to 174 of the 430 Republican candidates in the House, and 49 for would-be Republican Senators, Governors and Secretaries-of-State.
But initial results suggest that may have backfired. Republican House candidates backed by Mr Trump have actually performed worse than those who weren’t.
The Republican vote share in areas with a Trump-backed candidate has increased by 2.1 percentage points compared to the 2020 election.
That’s far less than the 8 percentage point increase in areas where the local Republican candidate had no such endorsement.
Those endorsements, prized weapons in Republican primaries of recent months, appear to have proven less helpful in winning over Democrats and independent voters.
The difference is most striking in Democrat-held seats, but even in Republican areas Trump-endorsed candidates have fared relatively poorly.
Trump-backed candidates have found it harder to win seats from the Democrats
This analysis is based on early results from just over half of counties, so may not be representative of the final outcome but at least gives us a glimpse of how things are going.
What does this election mean for America?
After the 2020 election it was the first time since Barack Obama’s first term that both chambers of Congress and the presidency had been in Democratic hands.
It is much easier for a president or a party to enact their policies if all three are held by the same party
If Joe Biden’s Democrats lose control of one or both chambers they will lose the ability to set the agenda on the big issues dividing the country, things like gun control, the economy, abortion, immigration, and climate change.
The president’s parties do typically lose seats at the midterms – 28 on average – although the Democrats will of course be hoping to buck that trend as George W Bush last did in 2002, a year on from 9/11.