President Obama has lost nearly 70 seats in the House since taking office and more seats in midterm elections than any president since Harry Truman.
Democrats have suffered a net loss of at least 69 House seats since 2008, with the possibility that Republicans could pick up even more as the final 2014 midterm races are called.
Senate Democrats have not fared much better, losing a net of at least 13 seats since Obama took office.
Obama has already surpassed President Dwight Eisenhower’s tally of 66 midterm losses in the House, according to data published by the Rothenberg Political Report. President Franklin Roosevelt and Truman each lost more House seats during their midterm years.
The 2010 midterms account for the bulk of the losses. In the tumultuous period after the passage of ObamaCare, Republicans picked up 63 seats in a wave election that awarded them control of the House.
The president has not always been a drag on congressional Democrats. His victory over Sen. John McCainJohn McCainTrump wall faces skepticism on border No Congress members along Mexico border support funding Trump's wall Treasury won’t grant Exxon drilling waiver for Russia MORE (R-Ariz.) in 2008 lifted candidates down the ballot, and in 2012 Democrats in the House picked up eight seats as the president defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
On Tuesday, though, House Democrats lost at least 14 seats as the GOP swept to victory in races around the country.
Senate Democrats have lost seven seats so far, and are at risk of having three more slip away.
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The losses in the Senate could surpass those suffered by Eisenhower in his midterms, when he lost 13 seats. Truman lost a net of 17 Senate seats in his midterm elections.
Republicans and their allies chose to focus much of their messaging on Obama this year, betting correctly that his low approval ratings would doom incumbents like Sens. Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock MORE (D-N.C.), Mark UdallMark UdallPicking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Gorsuch's critics, running out of arguments, falsely scream 'sexist' Election autopsy: Latinos favored Clinton more than exit polls showed MORE (D-Colo.) and Mark PryorMark PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.).
Historically, the incumbent president’s party tends to fair poorly in midterm elections during his second term in office. Before 2014, the president’s party had suffered significant congressional losses in five of the six second-term midterm elections.
Democrats have repeatedly noted that trend to try as they try to explain their election defeats and make the case that the party will come back strong in 2016, when a new standard-bearer will be on the ticket.
They have also pinned blame on Obama, arguing his flagging poll numbers were too much for their candidates to overcome.
“The president’s approval rating is barely 40 percent,” David Krone, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Reid'Tuesday Group' turncoats must use recess to regroup on ObamaCare Dem senator says his party will restore 60-vote Supreme Court filibuster GOP senator lobbying colleagues to keep legislative filibuster MORE’s (D-Nev.) chief of staff told The Washington Post. “What else more is there to say? ... He wasn’t going to play well in North Carolina or Iowa or New Hampshire. I’m sorry. It doesn’t mean that the message was bad, but sometimes the messenger isn’t good.
Exit polls registered high rates of disapproval of Obama among voters on Tuesday. He is scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon.