The U.S. presidential race gets more attention, but the two main U.S. political parties are equally intent on winning control of Congress this year.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and about one-third of the 100 Senate seats are at stake in the November elections.

At the moment, President Bush's Republican Party has a slim majority in both chambers. But Democrats need to gain just 11 seats in the House and two in the Senate to take control.

Democratic leaders are hopeful based on their party's wins in special elections to fill House seats in South Dakota and Kentucky.

Also, recent surveys have shown the public to be largely dissatisfied with the Bush administration on a host of issues, including Iraq and the economy.

But some realities of this year's races favor the Republicans. In the fight for House seats, only about 40 contests across the country are considered truly competitive. That gives Democrats fewer chances to gain ground.

The same goes for the Senate, where only about 12 seats are thought to be up for grabs. Republicans note that five of those are in the South, one of the party's strongholds.

Analysts do not yet foresee a Democratic takeover, but have not ruled out the possibility either.