What do, in fact, 1998 and 2002 mean in terms of Senate midterm elections?

Moving on, my random thought on this part of Sean Trende’s analysis of the 2014 Senate map:

Likewise, the tendency of the president’s party to fare poorly in midterm elections is so well-known as to require only an asterisk here: While the president’s party has lost House seats in all but two post-World War II midterm elections (1998 and 2002), it has gained or broken even in Senate seats in five (1962, 1970, 1982, 1998, and 2002). That’s somewhere between a third and a quarter of the postwar midterms, so our rule here is not really as “real” as it is for House elections.

To be honest, I don’t know whether 1998 or 2002 ‘count’ for anything. The 1998 results were skewed by Clinton’s impeachment; 2002’s, by the 9/11 attacks. Sure, I know, every election cycle is unique – but those two were particularly unique. Well. You know what I mean.

Moe Lane

One thought on “What do, in fact, 1998 and 2002 mean in terms of Senate midterm elections?”

  1. Senate lags the House, those 6-year terms…
    Senate is also less a ‘referendum on the POTUS’ than the House, and turns on broader issues… Unless it turns on an Alinskying of a particular candidate. (Todd Akin)
    That said, it just means the signal is buried under more noise… But the long-term trends still point in the same direction as the House.
    ‘S gonna be a year for the history books.

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