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To get the percentage we computed seats lost / initial seats for both chambers to get individual seats lost percentages. We then average the percentages together to get a single number, essentially weighting the seats (Senate vs. House) by their relative individual significance.
Elections are often counter-cyclical, and a recent question that has arisen is how out of line the Republican gain in the legislature and at the state level with historical norms. Here we examine how many seats George Bush lost during his presidency at the national level.
The theory is that while a presidential election may have coattails, they are more than offset but subsequent mid-terms, and higher mobilization of the opposition in the end of the president's term. So we will be measuring the difference between the number of seats held in January 2001 vs. number of seats held in January 2009. It is worth noting that this does not give us the greatest difference, since early vacancies generally swing towards the President's
In January 2001, the Senate was split 50-50. By the 2009 inauguration, the Senate was split 59-41 in favor of the Democrats, for a total loss of nine seats. Because a set lost is a seat won by the other caucus, this represents a net 18% shift in power towards the Democrats.
In January 2001, the House was split 211-221 in favor of Republicans. By January 2009, there were 256 Democrats and 178 Republicans, for a total loss of 45 seats. This represents a 20% loss in Republican seats..