A guide to the 2022 midterm elections: Yahoo News Explains

The 2022 midterms are here and control of both houses of Congress hangs in the balance. Historically, whichever party controls the White House is expected to lose seats — on average 28 seats in the House and 4 in the Senate, since 1934 — but this year could be different. Yahoo News explains.

Video Transcript


- We're in the final stretch of the 2022 midterms. And on the national level, the stakes couldn't be higher. Control of both houses of Congress. Historically, midterm elections have been viewed as a referendum on the president. In the 22 that have happened since 1934, whichever party holds the White House has, on average, lost 28 seats in the House of Representatives.

The only modern presidents whose parties have gained house seats during midterms were Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. All of whom enjoyed high approval ratings at the time.

But President Biden's approval continues to hover below 50% nationwide. Democrats also face headwinds with the economy, even as unemployment remains low. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an 8.3% annual inflation rate in August, meaning Americans are paying a good deal more than they were last year for the same goods and services.

In an effort to slow inflation, the Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates, putting the economy in an even more precarious position as we head to November. Currently, Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, hold a narrow 221 to 208 member majority over Republicans led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy with six seats vacant. But come November 8, all 435 seats are up for grabs.

Over on the Senate side, midterm swings are far less predictable. But the president's party has lost four seats on average since FDR's first term. Right now, there's an even 50/50 split between the parties with 35 seats up for election, 14 held by Democrats and 21 held by Republicans.

But unlike midterms past, the 2022 elections might have as much to do with the last president as they do the current one. Of the 177 congressional candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump during the primaries, 170 won the GOP nomination, showing that the former president still has firm control over the Republican Party.

But now, those candidates are running state and district wide, not just within their own party. And while President Biden has seen a recent string of policy victories, it's been a summer of bad news for Trump between the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, televised hearings of the January 6 House Select Committee, and a dizzying number of other lawsuits and investigations.

There's also the Dobbs v Jackson Supreme Court ruling, which overturned federal protection for abortion access and was made possible by three judges nominated to the court by former President Trump. This controversial decision could also be a major factor in voter turnout with many Democrats campaigning on protections for reproductive rights. In some states, early voting has already started. And as November 8 approaches, Yahoo News will have the latest on the 2022 midterms.