As the table below shows, presidents tend to lose seats in their first midterm election, regardless of their popularity.
The midterm vote historically is a check on the incumbent president and his party. Voter turnout is lower. Passion and turnout enthusiasm is usually with the out-party. Presidents have a hard time translating their popularity (especially if only with a base of their party) to lower profile Senate and especially congressional candidates. Over the past 21 midterm elections, the incumbent presidential party has lost an average of 30 seats in the House.
Trump, of course, has little support beyond his base. Could the Republicans lose 30 to 50 House seats? Yes!
President Trump | Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
- Johnson – 47 seats lost (1966), Vietnam, riots
- Ford – 48 seats lost (1971), Watergate, pardon
- Clinton – 55 seats lost (1994), rocky start and health care collapse
- Obama – 63 seats lost (2010), Tea Party formed and Obamacare
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Democrats could retake the House
Republican nightmare: President Clinton, Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi