|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2011)|
|Part of the Politics series|
A midterm election refers to a type of staggered election where the members take office at the middle of the term of another set of members, or of the executive. This is usually used to describe elections to an upper house of a legislature where only a fraction of seats are up.
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 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.