|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2011)|
|Part of the Politics series|
A midterm election refers to a type of election where the people can elect their representatives in the middle of the term of the executive or of another set of members. This is usually used to describe elections to an upper house of a legislature where only a fraction of seats are up. In this set up, one set of members are replaced, while the other set aren't; they'd be replaced at an election which is not any officeholder's "mid-term", usually along with elections of that officeholder. The legislators may have the same or longer fixed term of office than the executive, which facilitates an election mid-term.
In elections to the United States Congress, the point of reference is the president's term. There are three classes of United States Senators; each election replaces one class, hence a "midterm election" appears as one-third through the term of one class and two-thirds through the other, while still midway the term of a president. While the Philippines and Liberia also conducts midterm elections, the winners of such elections take office in their respective legislative bodies that conduct such elections mid-way through the term of half of the other members, hence for the members who were not up for election, the incoming members take office midway through their terms.
While House of Councillors of Japan uses a staggered election, there are no fixed terms to compare with as the House of Representatives has a variable term, and the position of the emperor is hereditary.
The results of such a midterm election serve as a measuring stick to the popularity of the incumbent executive, although in the United States the ruling party has suffered election defeats for most of the time.