Mid Term Elections

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  • Mid Term Elections
    • When
      • 1/3 of the Senate and all of the HoR are up for election
      • President's party tends to get beaten, a protest vote against the party in power
        • Mid term elections between 1962 and 2010 the President's party lost on average 23 House sets and 2-3 Senate seats
        • Only in 2002 did the President's party make gains in both houses
        • 2010 Democrats lost 63 seats in the HoR and 6 seats in the Senate
          • 6% down amongst white voters, 7% down amongst men, 8% down amongst women, 9% down amongst the young
            • Half way through Obama's first term the voters showed their disappointment at his failure to live up to early promises and opinion polls showed that he had not addressed economic problems and spent too much time on healthcare and was too liberal
          • Half way through Obama's first term the voters showed their disappointment at his failure to live up to early promises and opinion polls showed that he had not addressed economic problems and spent too much time on healthcare and was too liberal
      • In the middle of the President's 4 year term so only Congress itself is being elected (as well as many local posts eg state governor)
    • Why can they be important?
      • Might change the balance in Congress
        • In 2010 Obama's crushing defeat made the HoR under the control of the Republicans leading to battles and deadlocks
      • Loss of one or both houses in Congress which would make it extremely difficult to get anything done, can lead to lame duck presidency
        • Obama had a Republican controlled HoR which led to a virtual breakdown where Congress held up financial legislation
      • State and local positions
        • Of the 50 state governors 36 tend to be elected in mid terms
          • Loss of these by the President's party can lead to loss of control of the state meaning the state will go against what the President wants
            • Republicans made gains and increased their state governorships from 23 to 29 and the Democrats went from 26 to 20
      • If the swing against the President's party is big enough it can damage his standing in the rest of his term
        • Carter lost 15 in HoR and 3 in Senate and was defeated in the next election
    • Why can they not be important?
      • The President's relations with Congress may not be soured by a mid term loss as they often still have to work with a hostile Congress even if it is controlled by their own party
      • Even if they achieve a bad result they can still recover and be re elected
        • Obama was still re elected in 2012
      • Loss of state governorships may not be that important as the powers of the states and powers of the government are clearly demarcated
      • They don't always go against the ruling party
        • George Bush improved the Republican representation because of 9/11

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