Party leaders confident on eve of election

With only one day left in the midterm campaign, leaders from both political parties expressed confidence in their chances after the dust clears from Tuesday's election.  

Republican leaders provided cautious optimism about their chances of making large gains on Democrats as the result of a wave on Election Day, but Democrats said election handicappers could be surprised about their ability to beat back a GOP sweep.

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"We're going to come back in a significant way," National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said on NBC's "Today" show.

Meanwhile, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) predicted their party would maintain its majorities in both chambers of Congress.


Top officials from both parties are spending Monday making their final appeal to voters before they head to the polls on Tuesday.

Democrats are trying to reverse the big GOP advantage being shown in most polls. Most election handicappers expect the GOP to take control of the House but for the Democrats to return next year with a smaller majority in the Senate.

After acknowledging it over the weekend, Cornyn again admitted that his party is unlikely to take control of the upper chamber this cycle.

"I think we don't get the majority back but we come awfully close, and we finish the job in 2012," he said.

But Van Hollen was less certain of big GOP gains. In an interview on CNN's "American Morning," he said that voters might not turn out big for Republicans considering the economic meltdown that occurred during the George W. Bush administration and the Tea Party movement, which he says has turned out a set of extreme political candidates.

"The other factor is large pools of undecided voters. They're having big second thoughts about this Republican notion that people are just going to go out and vote against the Democrats," he said. "Let the voters decide. Because what they're doing is they're taking a close look at these Republican candidates, and they don't like what they see."

But Democrats seemed keenly aware that they would need to govern differently, regardless of the result of Tuesday's election.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said on ABC's "Good Morning America" that President Obama knows "about the need going forward to make some adjustments and corrections."

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele acknowledged that Republicans, like Democrats, are unpopular with voters who are upset with the state of the economy and the polarized political climate. But he said that Democrats have been in control for two years and voters are much more skeptical of the direction they have taken the country.

"The American people are much more skeptical of the direction Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have taken the country. But they also have some concerns over the directions Republicans would take the Congress in 2010," he said on "Good Morning America." "The one thing that I can offer is that the Republican Party has spent the last 18 months listening to the American people.

"We are hoping now for a fresh start with the American people," he added.

Michael O'Brien contributed to this post.