How Presidential Approval Is Tied To Midterm Results

A president’s party has almost always lost seats in the House of Representatives in the first midterm election of his administration. With some exceptions, a president’s approval rating one year before his first midterm election roughly tracks with the change in the number of seats. As of Oct. 8, President Trump’s approval rating in Gallup’s polling was 38 percent. We tracked other presidents’ approval from early October one year before midterms. The president’s party always loses seats — with the exception being President George W. Bush’s first midterm election, just over one year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


Note: The 1974 midterm election occurred the same year that Richard Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford became president. The approval rating shown is Nixon’s from October 1973.