Gallup: Democrats May Suffer 'Major Losses' in Midterms, Like in 1994 and 2010

By Michael W. Chapman | June 14, 2022 | 12:41pm EDT
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- In an analysis of several national indicators going into the November midterm elections, Gallup found that things do not look good for the Democratic Party and that it could suffer "major losses in its president's first midterms," similar to what happened in the midterms of 1994 and 2010.

"2022 has the potential to be a wave election for the Republican Party," said the survey firm.

"Regardless of what issues might drive voter behavior, unless Americans' opinions of the job [President] Biden is doing and the state of the nation improve over the next five months, the Democratic Party may face a situation similar to 1994 and 2010 when it suffered major losses in its presidents' first midterms but regrouped in time to win the presidential election two years later," reported Gallup. 

The Democrat congressional majority "is facing an extremely unfavorable election environment," said the survey firm.

(Gallup)
(Gallup)

In its analysis, Gallup noted that the incumbent president's political party usually loses seats in Congress in the midterm elections of the president's first term. For instance, in Barack Obama's first term, the Democrats lost 63 seats in the midterms of 2010. In Trump's first term, the Republicans lost 40 seats in the 2018 midterms. 

Currently, the U.S. House is comprised of 221 Democrats and 208 Republicans. In the Senate there are 50 Democrats (2 independents caucus with the Democrats) and 50 Republicans; the vote of the vice president, Kamala Harris (D), breaks any ties. 

Given that the "party of the president typically loses U.S. House seats in midterm elections -- an average of 23 since 1974," reported Gallup, it seems highly likely that the Republicans will win the House in the November elections.  

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

For indicators, Gallup looked at presidential job approval and the loss or gain of congressional seats; congressional job approval and seat change in the midterm election; U.S. satisfaction with the way things are going, and some other factors.

As for presidential job approval, Gallup data show that Biden is at 41%. In 2018, President Trump was at 41% approval and his party lost 40 congressional seats. In 2014, Obama was at 44% approval and the Democrats lost 13 seats. In 2010, the Democrats lost 63 seats when Obama had a 44% approval rating. 

In 1994, President Bill Clinton held a 46% approval, but his party, the Democrats, lost 53 seats in the midterm election. 

One of the times the president's party gained congressional seats in the midterm election was in 2002, when President George W. Bush had an approval rating of 63%. The same happened in President Clinton's second term, 1998, when his approval was 66% -- the Democrats gained 5 congressional seats in that midterm.

(Gallup)
(Gallup)

"Biden's current 41% approval rating puts him in the lower tier of all prior presidents' job approval ratings taken just before past midterm elections," said Gallup. "Biden currently has the same approval rating that Donald Trump did at the time of the 2018 elections, when the GOP lost 40 House seats, and similar to Ronald Reagan's 42% in October 1982, before the Republicans lost 26 seats."

How Americans view Congress is also "broadly predictive of how the president's party -- if not also the majority party in Congress -- will perform in the midterms," reported Gallup. 

"In 1994, 2010 and 2018 -- all years when Congress' approval rating was between 21% and 23% and the president's party was in the majority -- the incumbent party lost between 40 and 63 House seats," said the survey firm.

Today, Congress' job approval is at 18%. In Obama's first term, Congress' approval was 21% and the Democrats lost 63 seats; with Trump in 2018 Congress' approval was at 21% and the GOP lost 40 seats.

Congress' job approval (18%) is the lowest it has been for a midterm election in a president's first term since at least 1974, when Gerald Ford was president. Then, Congress had a 35% approval and the Republicans lost 43 seats. 

Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going is also an indicator examined by Gallup. 

(Gallup.)
(Gallup.)

Gallup reported, "Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. is also on pace to be the worst it has been in a midterm election year. The 16% currently satisfied is six points lower than the prior midterm low -- 22% in 2010."

U.S. satisfaction was 22% in 2010 in Obama's first term. At that time, the Democrats lost 63 seats. In President Ronald Reagan's first term, 1982, U.S. satisfaction was 24% and the Republicans lost 26 congressional seats. 

"Americans' dour evaluations of the president, Congress, the economy and direction of the country all suggest that the typical pattern by which the president's party loses seats in midterm elections will hold this year," reported Gallup. 

"While Republicans need to only pick up five seats in the House to take the majority in that chamber (assuming the vacant seats formerly held by Republicans stay with the party), the national mood is such that 2022 has the potential to be a wave election for the Republican Party and the GOP could have a more comfortable governing majority," said the survey firm. 

To read the Gallup report, click here

Inflation currently is 8.6%. President Biden began his presidency in January 2021.
Inflation currently is 8.6%. President Biden began his presidency in January 2021.

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