Before the election results are in, and keeping in mind that there may be some unpleasant surprises for one party or the other -- or both -- it's possible to assess how the Democratic Party has fared under the leadership of President Obama. To summarize the verdict: not so well.
By one metric it has done very badly indeed. When Obama took the oath of office in January 2009, there were 257 Democrats in the House of Representatives. Going into this election there are 201 (including two vacant Democratic seats).
Psephologists universally agree Democrats will suffer a net loss of House seats, for reasons explained in an earlier column in this space. That will leave them with a number probably somewhere in the 190s.
That means a loss of something like 60 seats -- far more than the parties of George W. Bush after six years (19 seats), and slightly more than Bill Clinton at this stage (47 seats).
House race results are particularly meaningful because in the past two decades, much more than in the 1970s and 1980s, Americans are voting straight tickets. Party performance in House elections is a pretty good indicator of support of a party and (when it has one) its president.
It's true that Bill Clinton's party lost 12 Senate seats in his first six years, as opposed to only four for President Obama's -- so far. But Democrats will come near to these losses if, as forecasters think likely, they lose their Senate majority, and even more if Republicans win almost all the close races.
Senate numbers in any case are a less reliable indicator of party strength, since there are fewer than three dozen races every cycle, compared to hundreds of House races.