Two weeks from today on Nov. 2, voters head to the polls in a midterm election with a backdrop of economic pain, job worries and a low level of approval for many politicians individually and politicians in general. How will this translate into the world we'll see when Nov. 3 arrives? It could transform things significantly from their current status.
Current expectations are for Republicans to pick up the 39 seats they need to regain control of the House, with some political watchers putting those Republican gains in the neighborhood of 50 seats. Control of the Senate, however, may be a more-difficult task as the consensus now is centering on GOP gains of seven to nine seats.
And history is on the side of Republicans. The party in control of the White House has typically lost ground in mid-term elections. A sitting president’s party usually loses seats in a first mid-term election, with the most-recent exception being President George W. Bush in 2002, when the GOP picked up two seats and held steady in the House.
Since 1978, the incumbent party in the White House has lost seats in one if not both chambers. Going back further, since World War II, control of the U.S. House of Representatives has changed six times -- 1946, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1994, and 2006 -- and each time, the Senate has also shifted.
Also, there are a number of Democratic lawmakers elected in either 2006 or 2008 that were in congressional districts that backed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president.
How does agriculture figure into the mix? In the House, CQ Politics rates around 40 House races as "toss ups" at this stage. And nearly a quarter of those are members of the House Ag Committee. The 2008 election did see some members of the panel sent home, but this year could see a bigger shift on the panel.