More than 13.5 million votes have been cast early, either at ballot boxes or by mail. Four years ago, during the last congressional midterm election, some 19 million people voted before Election Day.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the Senate GOP's campaign efforts, said Republicans are "going to come back in a significant way" on Election Day. With respect to the Senate, where Democrats now hold a majority, he said, "I think we don't get the majority back but we come awfully close and we finish the job in 2012."
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, agreed that despite the expected close races, "the Democrats retain the majority in the Senate."
He predicted that Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, will be re-elected. The embattled Reid faces a tough race in his home state of Nevada. Should he lose, Durbin would likely be among those seeking to be the next majority leader. But Durbin declined to speculate on such a scenario. "Harry Reid's going to be the next majority leader," he said.
Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, chairman of the Republican Governor's Association, agreed that it would be "a bit of a stretch" for Republicans to take control of the Senate.
And Party Chairman Michael Steele said he thinks Republicans will take the House. But he also acknowledged that voters are "skeptical" about both parties, and said that if the GOP gets the new power and doesn't use it effectively, "then we'll have a problem in two years."
Cornyn and Durbin appeared Monday on NBC's "Today" show. Barbour was interviewed on CBS's "The Early Show," and Steele appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America."