1978 United States elections
1976          1977          1978          1979          1980
Midterm elections
Election dayNovember 7
Incumbent presidentJimmy Carter (Democratic)
Next Congress96th
Senate elections
Overall controlDemocratic hold
Seats contested35 of 100 seats
(33 seats of Class 2 + 2 special elections)
Net seat changeRepublican +3[1]
1978 United States Senate special election in Minnesota1978 United States Senate special election in Alabama1978 United States Senate election in Alabama1978 United States Senate election in Alaska1978 United States Senate election in Arkansas1978 United States Senate election in Colorado1978 United States Senate election in Delaware1978 United States Senate election in Georgia1978 United States Senate election in Idaho1978 United States Senate election in Illinois1978 United States Senate election in Iowa1978 United States Senate election in Kansas1978 United States Senate election in Kentucky1978 United States Senate election in Louisiana1978 United States Senate election in Maine1978 United States Senate election in Massachusetts1978 United States Senate election in Michigan1978 United States Senate election in Minnesota1978 United States Senate election in Mississippi1978 United States Senate election in Montana1978 United States Senate election in Nebraska1978 United States Senate election in New Hampshire1978 United States Senate election in New Jersey1978 United States Senate election in New Mexico1978 United States Senate election in North Carolina1978 United States Senate election in Oklahoma1978 United States Senate election in Oregon1978 United States Senate election in Rhode Island1978 United States Senate election in South Carolina1978 United States Senate election in South Dakota1978 United States Senate election in Tennessee1978 United States Senate election in Texas1978 United States Senate election in Virginia1978 United States Senate election in West Virginia1978 United States Senate election in Wyoming1978 United States Senate elections results map.svg
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1978 Senate election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold

  Republican gain   Republican hold
House elections
Overall controlDemocratic hold
Seats contestedAll 435 voting seats
Popular vote marginDemocratic +8.9%
Net seat changeRepublican +15
1978 House Elections.png
1978 House of Representatives election results

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold

  Republican gain   Republican hold
Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested38 (36 states, 2 territories)
Net seat changeRepublican +6
1978 Alabama gubernatorial election1978 Alaska gubernatorial election1978 Arizona gubernatorial election1978 Arkansas gubernatorial election1978 California gubernatorial election1978 Colorado gubernatorial election1978 Connecticut gubernatorial election1978 Florida gubernatorial election1978 Georgia gubernatorial election1978 Hawaii gubernatorial election1978 Idaho gubernatorial election1978 Illinois gubernatorial election1978 Iowa gubernatorial election1978 Kansas gubernatorial election1978 Maine gubernatorial election1978 Maryland gubernatorial election1978 Massachusetts gubernatorial election1978 Michigan gubernatorial election1978 Minnesota gubernatorial election1978 Nebraska gubernatorial election1978 Nevada gubernatorial election1978 New Hampshire gubernatorial election1978 New Mexico gubernatorial election1978 New York gubernatorial election1978 Ohio gubernatorial election1978 Oklahoma gubernatorial election1978 Oregon gubernatorial election1978 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election1978 Rhode Island gubernatorial election1978 South Carolina gubernatorial election1978 South Dakota gubernatorial election1978 Tennessee gubernatorial election1978 Texas gubernatorial election1978 Vermont gubernatorial election1978 Wisconsin gubernatorial election1978 Wyoming gubernatorial election1978 United States gubernatorial elections results map.svg
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1978 gubernatorial election results
Territorial races not shown

  Democratic gain   Democratic hold

  Republican gain   Republican hold

The 1978 United States elections were held on November 7, 1978, to elect the members of the 96th United States Congress. The election occurred in the middle of Democratic President Jimmy Carter's term. Democrats retained control of both houses of Congress. As of 2022, this is the most recent election in which the Democrats maintained a trifecta at the federal level.

The Democrats lost three seats in the United States Senate to the Republican Party.[2] Democrats won the nationwide popular vote for the House of Representatives by a margin of 8.9 percentage points, but lost fifteen seats to Republicans.[2] The elections represent the most recent instance in which the president's party retained control of both houses of Congress in a midterm election, although the 2002 elections saw Republicans retain the House and win control of the Senate.

In the gubernatorial elections, Republicans picked up six seats. Among the newly elected governors was future president Bill Clinton from Arkansas. Clinton's eventual successor as president, George W. Bush, ran as the Republican nominee in Texas's 19th congressional district but was defeated by Democrat Kent Hance. Also Georgia's 6th congressional district was flipped from Democratic to Republican by future House Speaker and one-time presidential candidate, Republican Newt Gingrich.

Though Republicans gains were relatively modest for a midterm election, the election set the stage for the Reagan Revolution. Many of the newly elected members of Congress were more conservative than their predecessors, and most supported tax cuts that would eventually be implemented in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. The election also ended the possibility of a ratification of the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union. Carter's move to the center after this election encouraged a 1980 Democratic primary challenge by Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ Republicans picked up two seats in the regularly-scheduled elections and picked up another seat in a special election.
  2. ^ a b "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 1978" (PDF). U.S. House of Reps, Office of the Clerk. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  3. ^ Busch, Andrew (1999). Horses in Midstream. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 106–110.