The midterm elections will be held midway through the presidency of Joe Biden, and will shape Congress, state governors and other offices until the next election,
With more than 41 million ballots already cast, the results will have a powerful impact on the final two years of Mr Biden’s presidency, shaping policy on everything from government spending to military support for Ukraine.
Here’s what you need to know.
When are the US Midterm elections?
The midterm elections are held near the middle of the current US president’s time in office, on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November.
US voters will head to the polls on 8 November 2022.
When will we know the results of the midterm elections?
During the 2018 midterms, the results were formally announced the night of the election after polls officially closed. If the trend was to continue, results would be announced within 24 hours for the majority of seats.
Why are they called the midterm elections?
The midterm elections are called the midterms as they fall almost in the middle of a presidency.
The midterm elections are held near the middle of the current US president’s time in office.
What do the Midterm elections decide?
The midterms see Americans electing the members of their Congress, along with state governors and a variety of other state and local offices.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs and a further 35 seats are being contested in the Senate – the two institutions that make up Congress.
Who controls the House of Representatives and Senate?
Currently the Democrats control the House of Representatives but only by a small margin. The Senate is split down the middle with an even number of seats, however Vice President Kamala Harris holds the deciding vote.
Will the midterm elections impact the 2024 vote?
Yes, and no.
Effectively the electoral college resets during a Presidential Election – so will do so in 2024- however, the midterms will give an indication of how the president is fairing, and the general public’s attitude towards the US president. The midterms, in a way, will always reflect on the incumbent – but will also impact how much a sitting president can get done in the next two years.
Lessons could also be learned from history. In 2018 for example, Donald Trump lost 42 seats in Congress. He would then go on to lose the 2020 election. However, with so much still to play for in two years, the vote is likely to be nothing more than a poll.
Voters may rebuke the party controlling the White House and Congress amid surging inflation, concerns about crime and pessimism about the direction of the country. History suggests the party in power will suffer significant losses in the midterms.
It is more common for presidents to lose seats in the midterms however - with emphasis on the opposition supporters to turn up at the polls. However, it is important to note that unlike presidential elections, midterm seats can often be decided on local issues - or state wide policy.
What will the midterms do and how will they impact the US Government?
The midterms will decide the political landscape of each house in the bill passing stage of US politics. Effectively, a Republican majority or a marginal lead will mean it is increasingly difficult for the president to operate. As a result of marginal control since assuming office in January 2021, the president’s legislation on issues including gun control and voting rights has often stalled.
Have the Presidential candidates for 2024 been decided?
The candidates for the 2024 election are not yet decided and the midterms could impact whether Biden opts to run again. The race looks likely to be between Biden and Trump, the latter has yet to announce his formal bid, while the incumbent will be 81 in 2024 – which to many Democrats is a major cause of concern.
What is the likely outcome and what can we expect from the result?
They say it is foolish to ever try and predict in politics, however, the landscape makes the Senate particularly interesting. Of the 35 seats up for election, 21 are held by the GOP. But all of the 14 Democratic seats are in states that also voted for Biden in the 2020 election.
Experts have stated that the Senate slightly in the Republicans’ favour, with only five “toss-up” seats that the Democrats could likely win back. However, some candidates have performed at a poorer level early on for the Republicans - with some concerns from their party that they will fail in gaining the majority they seek.
Republicans are more hopeful regarding the Congress’s lower chamber, the House of Representatives, with the Democrats holding a narrow majority in the House, with 221 seats - a majority of just three. The Republicans have 212, and two seats are vacant.
Redistricting in many areas for the first time could see the Republicans claim the majority in the house. However, in five special congressional elections, where the incumbent has either resigned or died, since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, a Democrat representative has triumphed.