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Changing narrative on midterm polls

Business Times - 25 May 2010


Changing narrative on midterm polls

Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a clear advantage in the November election, at least for now

By LEON HADAR
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

US CONGRESSIONAL and gubernatorial elections that take place at the end of the second year of a presidential term - midterm election - serve as a referendum on the performance of the sitting president and the incumbent political party.

History suggests that voters tend to 'punish' the party of the president during this election that takes place on Nov 2. Indeed, in the last 17 midterm elections, the president's party has lost an average of 28 seats in the House of Representatives, and an average four seats in the Senate.

The conventional wisdom in Washington has been that the coming midterm election - for 36 of the 100 seats in the Senate, for all the 435 seats in the House and for 37 gubernatorial races - will prove to be a major electoral blow to President Barack …