This Chart Shows Why the GOP Might Have Lost the Midterms Even If It Wins Congress

Some GOP leaders have been publicly arguing that Tuesday’s midterm elections were a great success even though Republicans underperformed expectations. Are they right?


History strongly suggests something went wrong for the GOP in 2022.


In a post to his Truth Social platform Wednesday, former President Donald Trump characterized Election Night as “A GREAT EVENING” — a message echoed by other GOP leaders and boosters.

But a look at the historical performance of the party that held the White House in recent midterm elections tells a different story.

  • Since 1934, the president’s party lost an average of 28 House seats and 4 Senate seats in the midterms.
  • Votes were still being tallied in a number of states Wednesday, and the Georgia senate race was headed to a Dec. 6 runoff, but the GOP was projected to pick up 9 to 16 seats in the House and 0 to 1 seats in the Senate.
  • Republicans were widely expected to do better given polls showing widespread disapproval of President Joe Biden’s job performance, the economy and the direction of the country.


Many Republican politicians and conservative pundits have acknowledged the midterms were a disappointment, and a debate has broken out on the right about what went wrong.

  • Leading theories have included the influence of former President Donald Trump, GOP candidate quality, new abortion restrictions.

OK, but: There were signs that the next election could go better for the Republicans.

  • Exit polls showed the GOP continuing to make inroads with women and voters of color, groups long predicted to abandon the party.