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ODU professors say it's likely Republicans will gain control of House & Senate

They say Virginia's 2nd Congressional district race, where Elaine Luria and Jen Kiggans are facing off, is still too close to call.

NORFOLK, Va. — With five days to go until midterm elections across the country, Old Dominion University (ODU) political science professors agreed Thursday it was likely that Democrats will lose control of the House and possibly the Senate, too.

One big reason is: historical precedent.

In the 19 midterm elections since World War II, 17 of those times, the party of the sitting president lost seats in Congress. (This time, with President Joe Biden in the White House, that would be the Democrats.)

The issues each party has chosen to address are also playing a big role in this election.

While Democrats have focused largely on abortion and the January 6 insurrection and threats to Democracy, Republicans have concentrated on the thing voters have said repeatedly matters the most.

"38% are saying your most important problem is the economy," said Ben Melusky. "Republicans are beating Democrats heavily on that question, for which party can handle your most important problem."

RELATED: 13News Now Investigates: Luria, Kiggans spend millions in final push to win undecided voters

But as dismal as results could be for Democrats, Jesse Richman said things could be worse.

"Republicans probably manage to get to majorities in the House and Senate," he said. "But it doesn't look to me like the kind of blowout election polling we have seen leading into different wave elections. I think this is going to be a closely-fought election."

The professors said the Virginia 2nd Congressional District race between Democrat Elaine Luria and Republican Jen Kiggans is too close to call. 

The most recent poll, from Christopher Newport University's Wason Center, had them tied at 45%.

RELATED: 2022 Midterm Election Voter Guide

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