A Caltech Library Service

The Inherent Disadvantage of the Presidential Party in Midterm Congressional Elections

Calvert, Randall L. and Isaac, R. Mark (1978) The Inherent Disadvantage of the Presidential Party in Midterm Congressional Elections. Social Science Working Paper, 191. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF (sswp 191 - Jun. 1978) - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The almost inevitable midterm election loss suffered by the president's congressional party still lacks a complete explanation. It is argued here that the policy positions of the president help shape voters' perceptions of the positions of congressional candidates. Because the president implements policies before the midterm campaign begins, and because he has goals apart from winning seats in Congress, his party's candidates are at a disadvantage, relative to their opponents, in communicating the most favorable positions possible to their voters. This model of the midterm campaign not only explains midterm losses, but also accounts for rare failures of this phenomenon, as occurred in 1934.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemPublished Version
Additional Information:Revised. We wish to thank Professor Morris Fiorina for his valuable assistance and encouragement. Published as Calvert, Randall L., and R. Mark Isaac. "The inherent disadvantage of the presidential party in midterm congressional elections." Public Choice 36.1 (1981): 141-146.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:political conventions, presidents, elections, voting, political candidates
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:191
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171023-105730572
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82581
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:24 Oct 2017 21:25
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:56

Repository Staff Only: item control page