Today's national, state, and local elections pose for the historically minded Michigander, during this Civil War Sesquicentennial, "what happened as a result of voting 150 years ago, especially here?"
A fascinating paper, "The Impact of National Tides and District-Level Effects on Electoral Outcomes: The U.S. Congressional Elections of 1862", published by four Michigan State University scholars in 2000* and available online, says: "The midterm House elections were a disaster for President Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans, as the party lost 23 seats and saw their control of the House disappear: while the Republicans made up 59 percent of the 37th House, they would only comprise 46.2 percent of the 38th House (Martis 1989, pp. 115, 117)." The paper analyzes the causes -- which appear to be more complex than that usually cited. (And it promised further analysis.)
In Michigan, though, the result was not as dramatic: "The Democrats captured a majority of seats in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, and made modest gains in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (Martis 1989)."
As the MSU paper indicates, Michigan Republicans bucked the trend in Congress, holding on to five of the seats, with the sixth electing a "Democratic-Union" candidate. The margins of victory ranged from a high of 16% to a low of .8%. Consequently, when the 38th Congress convened on March 4, 1863, the two Republican Senators, Zachariah Chandler and Jacob Howard, still sat while in the House the delegation consisted of Fernando C. Beaman (R), Charles Upson (R), John W. Longyear (R), Francis W. Kellogg (R), John F. Driggs (R), and Augustus C. Baldwin (D/U). Lincoln could still count on Michigan, though in many cases it was more radical than his policies were.
In the Legislature, Republicans maintained their majorities in both houses but lost some seats, from 75 down to 63 in the House while the opposition increased from 25 to 37, and in the Senate from 30 to 18 while the opposition went from 2 to 14. Source (an excellent book): Martin J. Hershock, The Paradox of Progress: Economic Change, Individual Enterprise, and Political Culture in Michigan (Athens: Ohio U. Press, 2003), p. 273 n.50.
Governor Austin Blair was reelected by a popular vote of 68,716 (52.53%) to his Democratic opponent (Byron G. Stout) receiving 62,102 (47.47%). This was, indeed, a smaller margin than in 1860, when Blair received nearly 57%. Were voting totals down in general because of disaffection, or because of the absence of so many soldiers**? Two years later, Henry Crapo continued the Republican hold with a much greater absolute vote total (91,353) and margin (55.15%), and other elections followed suit.
The party prosecuting the War for Union and emancipation still held sway in Michigan after the 1862 elections.
*Jamie L. Carson, Jeffery A. Jenkins, David W. Rohde, Mark A. Souva
**We should never forget that in the midst of a "great Civil War, testing whether this Nation" would survive, people in the North went to the polls and cast their ballots under the U.S. and state constitutions. At the same time, soldiers were stationed far away from their Michigan homes seeking -- in the most compelling and risky of all manners of service -- to secure the Nation's survival. A lesson for us today, as well.