The Democrats' hopes for a tidal wave to rebuke President Donald Trump have been tempered by early returns, Polls have closed in most states, including Indiana and Tennesse, where Republicans won two key Senate contests, suggesting the GOP may be on their way ousting more vulnerable Democratic incumbents in yet-to-be-called races and padding their majority in the upper chamber.
In the battle for the House, Democrats have so far picked up a handful of Republican-held House seats in including against some battle-tested incumbents, while losing ones in Eastern Kentucky and Central Virginia where wins would have signaled a tsunami for Democrats.
"This is not going to be the wave election that people like me hoped for, but it could still be a good election," Democratic strategist James Carville said on MSNBC.
Most key House races remain outstanding, including in California where counting votes can take days because voters are allowed to submit absentee ballots as long as they are postmarked by Election Day.
But Democrats have preformed well in some suburban areas that Hillary Clinton won, such as a Northern Virginia district where Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock had fended off well-funded challengers in past elections.
The first rounds of NBC News exit polls show a majority of Americans, 54 percent, do not approve of Trump, with a substantial number — 47 percent — expressing strong disapproval.
Heath care, which Democrats emphasized throughout the campaign, was the top issue for Americans, with 41 percent selecting it, followed by immigration and the economy, two issues seen as favoring Republicans, which were selected by 23 and 21 percent of voters, respectively.
Overall, Americans expressed a fairly dim view of the state of politics, with 56 percent saying the country is on the wrong track and three-quarters of Americans saying the country is becoming more divided.