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Midterm elections are elections in the United States in which members of United States Congress (including all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and full terms for 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate), and some state legislatures and governors are elected, but no presidential election is held. Thirty-four of the 50 U.S. states elect their governors to four-year terms during midterm elections, while Vermont and New Hampshire elect governors to two-year terms in both midterm and presidential elections. Thus, 36 governors are elected during midterm elections. Many states also elect officers to their state legislatures and county offices every two years, in both mid-term and presidential election years. Special elections are often held in conjunction with regular elections, so additional Senators and governors may be elected to partial terms.

Midterm elections occurs on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November (Election Day) in between the quadrennial (four-year) elections for the president of the United States (or, put differently, in years that leave a remainder of two when divided by four).

The next midterm elections are scheduled for November 2, 2010:

Recent midterm elections

Midterm elections are sometimes regarded as a referendum on the sitting president's and/or incumbent party's performance.[1][2] They usually don't turn out well for the party of the president; over the past 17 midterm elections, the president's party has lost an average 28 seats in the House, and an average 4 seats in the Senate.

Year President's Party House Election Results Senate Election Results
2006 R R-30 R-6
2002 R R+8 R+2
1998 D D+5 0
1994 D D-54 D-8
1990 R R-8 R-1
1986 R R-5 R-8
1982 R R-26 0
1978 D D-15 D-3
1974 R R-48 R-4
1970 R R-12 R+1
1966 D D-48 D-3
1962 D D-4 D+2
1958 R R-48 R-12
1954 R R-18 R-2
1950 D D-28 D-5
1946 D D-54 D-12
1942 D D-45 D-8


  1. ^ "A Voter Rebuke For Bush, the War And the Right". Washington Post. 2006-11-08. "Bush and senior adviser Karl Rove tried to replicate that strategy this fall, hoping to keep the election from becoming a referendum on the president's leadership." 
  2. ^ "Election '98 Lewinsky factor never materialized". CNN. 1998-11-04. "Americans shunned the opportunity to turn Tuesday's midterm elections into a referendum on President Bill Clinton's behavior, dashing Republican hopes of gaining seats in the House and Senate." 

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