News Analysis: U.S. Senate Could Change Hands On "Six Year Itch"

U.S. President Barack Obama's sixth year in office has thus far been tough, and he and Democrats could fall victim to the "six year itch" -- political speak for presidents' historically troubled sixth year.

Indeed, the itch usually results in a loss of seats for the party in power, experts said, and that magic number this year is six seats for the Republican Party (GOP) to take back the Democratic-controlled Senate. The Republicans are currently in control of the House of Representatives.

The "six-year itch" phenomenon goes back several decades. "Six-year itch" Senate losses totaled four seats in 1966 and 1974, six years into the Kennedy-Johnson and Nixon-Ford administrations, and totaled six seats in the 2006 second midterms of George W. Bush's presidency, noted the National Journal.

Eight seats were lost in 1986, and 12 in the 1958 election. Going back further, there were a total of 72 seats lost in the House under President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938, the Journal noted.

"Do they (the GOP) have a shot at taking the Senate? I think they have a 50-50 chance at this point," Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua. "Really it all depends on who wins the primaries for the Republican Party. But right now it looks pretty close."

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua

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Analysis & Political Strategy