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Current time:0:00Total duration:1:31

Does the president's party usually gain or lose seats at the midterm elections?

Video transcript

- [Narrator] Does the president's party usually gain or lose seats at the midterm elections? - It's a pretty strong historical trend that the president's party loses seats in the presidency. So that's particularly the case in the House of Representatives. Since the Civil War, about 93% of the time, the president's party loses seats. Now sometimes they lose a lot of seats and the entire control of the House switches from control in the president's party to control into the other party. In the Senate it's a little less direct. About 70% of the time, the president's party loses seats in a midterm election. And this is often seen, and more in more recent history, it's really seen as a kinda thumbs up or thumbs down vote on how the president is doing. The electorate reacting to whether they like or dislike what the president is doing. And in the two cases recently, where the president's party did pick up seats in Congress, it was in 1998 when the Republicans were seen to have overreached in their impeachment of Bill Clinton, and so voters voted for Democrats, Bill Clinton's party. And then in 2002 when George W. Bush was seen as successfully responding to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and America, his party picked up seats in the Congressional election because it was seen as a ratification of his presidency so far.