What is the term for when the Congressional majority represents the opposite party of the President?

In the United States, the term divided government is used when the President is a member of one party but the other party controls one or both houses of the Congress.

Polls vary, but currently somewhere around 70% of Americans consider themselves to be either Democrat or Republican (leaving about 30%, who call themselves Independents). But despite party loyalties, it seems Americans favor divided government. As you can see in the table below, since the 1950s, only three presidents (Carter, Johnson, and Kennedy) never had to contend with a divided government.

 

Year

President

House of Representatives

Senate

2013

D

R

D

2011

D

R

D

2009

Barack Obama (D)

D

D

2007

R

D

D

2005

R

R

R

2003

R

R

R

2001

George W. Bush (R)

R

D

1999

D

R

R

1997

D

R

R

1995

D

R

R

1993

Bill Clinton (D)

D

D

1991

R

D

D

1989

George H.W. Bush (R)

D

D

1987

R

D

D

1985

R

D

R

1983

R

D

R

1981

Ronald Reagan (R)

D

R

1979

D

D

D

1977

Jimmy Carter (D)

D

D

1975

Gerald Ford (R)

D

D

1973

R

D

D

1971

R

D

D

1969

Richard Nixon (R)

D

D

1965

D

D

D

1963

Lyndon Johnson (D)

D

D

1961

John F. Kennedy (D)

D

D

1959

R

D

D

1957

R

D

D

1955

R

D

D

1953

Dwight Eisenhower (R)

R

R