Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
As you can see, in these sixteen midterm elections over sixty years, the President's party added governorships only twice, in 1946 and 1986. In two other elections (1962 and 1998), there was no net change. But in twelve cases (75% of the time), the president's party lost gubernatorial berths. The losses ranged from just one for George W. Bush in 2002 to ten for Bill Clinton in 1994 and eleven for Richard Nixon in 1970. On average, the President's party lost four governorships in the midterm election year. (We are not including presidential election years since a mere eleven states now hold statehouse battles to coincide with White House contests.)
The benchmark of "minus four" will be useful as we approach 2010. Will the Democrats exceed that number or beat the odds?
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