Majority Changes in the House of Representatives, 1856 to Present

Since the start of the modern party system in the decade before the Civil War, the House has changed majorities in a midterm election a little more than one-third of the time. But of the total 18 House majority changes in that time span, including presidential and midterm election years, more than three-quarters have occurred during a midterm.1

The table below lists the majority changes. Bolded text indicates a presidential election year. Italic text indicates that the Senate also changed majorities.

Election YearCongressDemocratsRepublicansOtherTOTAL
Representatives
Democratic
Gain/Loss
Republican
Gain/Loss
185836th8311639238-4926
187444th182103829394-96
188047th12815114293-1319
188248th1961171232568-34
188851st1521791332-1527
189052nd23886833286-93
189454th9325410357-125130
191062nd230162239458-57
1918266th1922402435-2225
1930372nd216218143552-52
194680th1882461435-5657
194881st263171143575-75
195283rd2132211435-2222
195484th232203043519-18
1994104th2042300435-5454
20064 110th233202043532-31
2010112th1932420435-6464
20185116th235199143541-42

 

Footnotes

1All election data sourced from “Party Divisions of the House of Representatives.”

2Though more Republicans were elected than Democrats to the House in 1916, third party Members of the 65th Congress (1917–1919) caucused with the Democrats to re-elect Speaker James Beauchamp “Champ” Clark. In 1918, Republicans achieved a clear majority and elected Frederick H. Gillett Speaker on the opening day of the 66th Congress (1919–1921). See, “The Start of the 66th Congress.”

3Elections in the fall of 1930 had provided Republicans with a slim majority in the chamber. But between Election Day 1930 and the opening of the new Congress 13 months later, 14 Representatives-elect died. In the subsequent special elections to fill those vacancies, Democrats won enough seats to recapture the majority. On opening day, Democrats organized the chamber with several Members from third parties. See, “The Opening of the 72nd Congress.”

4The Senate in the 110th Congress (2007–2009) had 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut was reelected in 2006 as an independent candidate, and became an Independent Democrat. Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont was elected as an Independent. Both caucused with the Democrats. See, United States Senate, “Party Division,” https://www.senate.gov/.

5The State of North Carolina did not submit an election certificate for the Ninth U.S. Congressional District prior to the opening day of the 116th Congress.