History Working Against Dems in 2010

Everyone knows that the president's party usually loses seats in Congress in midterm elections. But, I didn't know about the trend in gubernatorial ...
by | March 26, 2009

Everyone knows that the president's party usually loses seats in Congress in midterm elections. But, I didn't know about the trend in gubernatorial elections until Larry Sabato recently took a look at midterm elections since 1946:

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?

Sabato also recently previewed the 36 governor's races, starting with the offices held by Democrats and then moving to the ones held by Republicans.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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