The midterm elections are held every four years, halfway through a presidential term, and are generally viewed as a referendum on how the president is doing. The president’s party historically loses seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, which can result in a shift in power to the opposing party.
Throughout the campaign, the Democrats consistently polled higher than the Republicans, and on Election Day led the Republicans by 7.3 percentage points.
The Democratic Party wrested control of the House of Representatives from the Republicans in the 2018 midterms. The House of Representatives has 435 voting members and six non-voting members, with the number of representatives determined by state population. 218 seats are need for control of the House of Representatives, and the Democrats won 234 seats versus the 201 seats won by Republicans.
The Republican Party kept control of the Senate by winning 11 seats. There are 100 voting members of the United States Senate, with two senators representing each state, regardless of population. 51 seats are needed for control. Senators serve six-year terms, with staggered elections. During this election cycle, 35 Senate seats were up for election. 23 Democratically held seats were not up for election, compared to 42 Republican seats not up for election.
Many different factors can influence how people vote in the midterm elections, including the national GDP, unemployment rate, and the job approval rating of the president. The United States continues to be politically divided, however, with income level, education level, and ethnicity also influencing how people cast their ballots.