But opinion polls show deep US public anger at the sour economy and stubbornly high unemployment 20 months after Obama took office vowing to turn things around, and political forecasters warn Democrats will pay a stiff price.
With all 435 House seats and 37 of 100 Senate spots up for grabs, as well as state legislatures and key governorships, what's at stake is nothing less than the future of Obama's agenda.
Experts note that, historically, sitting US presidents have seen their party lose seats in legislative elections during their first term.
University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato predicts Republicans, who need 39 House seats to seize control of the chamber, could grab as many as 47, and fall just short of the 10 they need to run the Senate.
Sabato notes that Democrats have a considerable fundraising edge and veteran candidates and that "something big and unexpected can always drop from the skies" to shift the political battle in the party's favor.
But "conditions have deteriorated badly for Democrats over the summer. The economy appears rotten, with little chance of a substantial comeback by November 2nd," he wrote in a commentary.
Noted political forecaster Charlie Cook also sees a mixed outcome, with Republicans getting 35-45 House seats and 7-9 in the Senate.
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