The US President actually has little legislative power to support his agenda without the support of Congress – made up of the House of Representaives and the 100-seat Senate.
According to the US constitution, any legislation must be passed – in identical form – by both the House of Representatives and the Senate before the president can sign it into law.
Thirty three Senate seats are up for grabs (23 Democrat and 10 Repub-lican) –as well as 435 in the House of Representatives and 11 state governorships.
Going into last night the Democrats held a 53-47 majority in the Senate, and the battle for control was another close race after a series of events during the Republican campaign looked to have narrowed their chances of winning the three seats necessary to take charge.
These include gaffes on abortion from Missouri candidate Todd Akin – who claimed women had biological defences that stopped them falling pregnant if raped – and the choice of candidates who lean heavily to the right of the party, including Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock (pictured right) in Indiana.
These more outspoken candidates are unlikely to win ballots from swing voters that take a more moderate party line.
The Democrats would have needed to win an extra 25 seats overnight to secure a majority in the House of Representatives.
Among the House’s most high-profile candidates is Massachusetts’ fourth district Democratic hopeful Joe Kennedy III (pictured left).
The grandson of former New York senator Robert “Bobby” Kennedy is the latest member of the most famous political dynasty in US history to step into the limelight.