The Blog

Six Isn't Great

The historical trouble with sixth-year elections.

11:00 PM, Oct 31, 2006 • By FRED BARNES
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

While the political climate is bad for Republicans this year, it's not as bad as 1994. John Morgan, the Republican demographer and election analyst, says that before the 1994 election he could see 40 states poised to elect Republicans from top to bottom. Now he sees only five states ready to give Democrats a landslide victory. "It's not a national sweep" in 2006, Morgan says.

Republicans may lose the House and several Senate seats. But even if Democrats win a numerical majority in the House, they may not gain a governing majority (which Republicans won in 1994). Republicans are all but certain to hold the governorships of California, Texas, and Florida, three of the four largest states. Plus, they're likely to retain control of state senates in New York, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas, and Arizona--just to name a few.

There's a final sixth-year phenomenon: a president's party suffers, but he doesn't. Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Reagan, the four greatest presidents of the 20th century, suffered sixth-year embarrassments. Yet history now looks kindly on them. President Bush shouldn't lose hope.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.