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Congressional Seats Gained/Lost By The President's Party in Mid-Term Elections

Mid-Term Elections, 1934-2006

A mid-term election occurs two years after a Presidential election; one-third of the Senate and all of the seats in the House of Representatives are at stake. Conventional wisdom holds that the President's party will lose seats during a mid-term election.

In the 19 mid-term elections held since 1934, only twice has the President's party gained seats in both the Senate and the House: FDR's first mid-term election and George W. Bush's first mid-term election. On three other occasions, the President's party gained House seats and once it was a draw. On one occasion, the President's party gained Senate seats.

If a President serves two terms, generally speaking the greater loss occurs during his first mid-term election. Notable exceptions, again: FDR and GWB.

Year President Party President Approval Rating - Late October House Senate
1934 Franklin D. Roosevelt D nd +9 +9
1938 Franklin D. Roosevelt D 60% -71 -6
1942 Franklin D. Roosevelt D nd -55 -9
1946 Harry S. Truman D 27% -45 -12
1950 Harry S. Truman D 41% -29 -6
1954 Dwight D. Eisenhower R nd -18 -1
1958 Dwight D. Eisenhower R nd -48 -13
1962 John F. Kennedy D 61% -4 +3
1966 Lyndon B. Johnson D 44% -47 -4
1970 Richard Nixon R nd -12 +2
1974 Gerald R. Ford R nd -48 -5
1978 Jimmy Carter D 49% -15 -3
1982 Ronald Reagan R 42% -26 +1
1986 Ronald Reagan R nd -5 -8
1990 George Bush R 57% -8 -1
1994 William J. Clinton D 48% -52 -8
1998 William J. Clinton D 65% +5 0
2002 George W. Bush R 67% +8 +2
2006 George W. Bush R 37% -30 -6
Source: The American Presidency Project
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