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Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, April 15, 2014

Number of new anti-“Obamacare” campaign or issue commercials launched since the first open enrollment window closed on March 31: 32. Number of pro-Affordable Care Act campaign or issue ads launched since March 31: 1. The Obama Administration may have reached its CBO-determined enrollment target or come darn close, but that hasn’t exactly stopped the ads. Seven unique anti-Obamacare political...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 14, 2014

Anyone who knows me well knows I am usually eyeing the oven for the next fresh batch of in-depth public-opinion data from Democracy Corps, a partnership between legendary Democratic strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville that just celebrated its 15th anniversary. It gets even better when the two team up with Resurgent Republic, cofounded by veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres, as they did...

Wisconsin House|By David Wasserman, April 11, 2014

Wisconsin GOP Rep. Tom Petri's retirement is just the latest departure of a pragmatic, old-school Republican this cycle. Petri was first elected in 1979 and in 2013, National Journal ranked him the 203rd most conservative Republican out of 234 in the House. He is the fifth member of the Republican Main Street Partnership to retire in 2014. Still, this is a seat Republicans should be able to...

Florida House|By David Wasserman, April 11, 2014

Freshman GOP Rep. Trey Radel may have resigned his seat in January after his arrest for purchasing cocaine from an undercover officer, but the circus didn't end there. Twelve days out from the all-important April 22 GOP primary to fill the remainder of his term, three Republicans are locked in a scorched-earth and volatile race for the safely GOP Southwest Florida seat: state Sen. Lizbeth...

North Carolina House|By David Wasserman, April 11, 2014

If Clay Aiken couldn't beat Ruben Studdard in 2003, can he beat GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers in 2014? Don't get us wrong: we still believe Ellmers is the overwhelming favorite to win reelection in North Carolina's 2nd CD. Her heavily gerrymandered seat is a scary place for any Democrat and gave President Obama just 41 percent of the vote in 2012. However, those tempted to label Democrat and 2003...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 11, 2014

When people suggest that one election will be exactly like another, I recall a lesson my good friend, political economist Tom Gallagher, taught me about historical parallels. Tom would often quote Mark Twain’s line that “history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” The truth is that while no two elections are truly alike, they can share some similarities, particularly if you don’t look...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, April 10, 2014

Despite a less-than-rosy economy, President Obama won re-election due in large part to the fact that he made the race a referendum on Mitt Romney and his "47 percent" ideology. Two years later, the economy looks better on paper, but voters aren't seeing it. That means Democrats will once again make an election a referendum not on how good things are under Democrats, but how terrible they will...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, April 8, 2014

From the 2004 election cycle through March 31, 2014, Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group has classified more than 50,000 TV ads in races for president on down to local office. This figure excludes the thousands of ballot initiative ads, non-election issue ads, and pre-2004 campaign ads we’ve also classified. Even without them, this interactive “Eye” created by CMAG’s...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 7, 2014

The extent to which the politics of the 2016 presidential nomination are already encroaching on the 2014 midterm elections is, indeed, quite something. Establishment Republicans worried about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political viability now seem to be turning their attention back to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who in turn is not exactly spurning their flirtations. Last week's...

The 2014 Political Environment

Updated April 16, 2014 | As the 2014 midterm election cycle begins to take shape, the Cook Political Report has identified several metrics worth monitoring between now and Election Day.

  1. Right Direction/Wrong Track Polling
  2. Presidential Job Approval Ratings
  3. Consumer Confidence/Consumer Sentiment
  4. ACA/Obamacare: Public Approval
  5. Party Affiliation
  6. Democratic/Republican Party Favorability Ratings
  7. The Generic Congressional Ballot Test

Also: "What It Takes:" 2014 House and Senate Math

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  • The current Senate line-up is 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and two independents that caucus with Democrats.  There are 36 Senate races on the ballot in 2014.  To win the majority, Republicans would have to score a net gain of six seats.  Democrats are defending 21 of these seats, including six in states that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney won easily in 2012, and two more that are in swing states.  By contrast, Republicans will defend 15 seats, only one of which is in a state that President Obama carried in 2012.  Republicans have also successfully expanded the playing field of vulnerable Democratic-held seats, increasing their chances of winning the majority.  Republicans are on track to pick up between four and six seats; it is more likely than not that the number will be at the higher end of – and may exceed – that range.

  • The current House breakdown is 233 Republicans, 199 Democrats, and three vacancies (one Republican and two Democratic). Democrats need a net gain of 17 seats to reach a majority in 2014. Because the House is well sorted-out, large shifts or a change in partisan control of the House are unlikely. In large part because of President Obama's standing and the GOP's midterm turnout advantages, we would estimate a Republican gain of between two and 12 House seats if the election were held today.

  • The current line up of the nation’s Governors is 29 Republicans and 21 Democrats. There are 36 contests in 2014.  Of these 36 races, 22 are held by Republicans and 14 by Democrats.  Republicans have far more exposure to losses.  Of the GOP’s 22 seats, President Obama easily carried seven of these states in 2012, while another three seats are in swing states.  Only one of Democrats’ 14 seats is in a state that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried.  While a favorable political landscape should help Republicans, they remain on track to lose between two and four seats. 

Wisconsin  |  District 06  |  Petri (R)

Likely R
Solid R

North Carolina  |  District 02  |  Ellmers (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Michigan  |  District 08  |  Rogers (R)

Lean R
Solid R

New Hampshire  |  Senate  |  Shaheen (D)

Likely D
Lean D

Mississippi  |  Senate  |  Cochran (R)

Likely R
Solid R

The Cook Political Report is...

  • A newsletter that both parties regard as authoritative.
    – The New York Times
  • The bible of the political community.
    – Bob Schieffer, host of CBS News "Face the Nation"
  • Perhaps the best nonpartisan tracker of Congressional races.
    – David Broder, The Washington Post

Ten Years of Campaign Ads

Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group has classified more than 50,000 TV ads in races for president on down to local office over the past ten years. CMAG’s Harley Ellenberger and Elizabeth Wilner present the largest interactive compilation of political ads ever assembled.
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Charlie Cook's Column

Message Testing

April 14, 2014

Anyone who knows me well knows I am usually eyeing the oven for the next fresh batch of in-depth public-opinion data from Democracy Corps, a partnership between legendary Democratic strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville that just celebrated its 15th anniversary. It gets even better when the two team up with Resurgent Republic, cofounded by veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres, as they did...

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Columnists

Amy Walter, National Editor

Amy Walter is the Cook Political Report's National Editor. In her weekly column, Walter provides analysis of the issues, trends, and events that shape the national political environment.
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Elizabeth Wilner, Contributing Editor

Elizabeth Wilner is Senior Vice President of Kantar Media Ad Intelligence with oversight of its Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), Contributing Editor of The Cook Political Report, and former Political Director of NBC News. Wilner's weekly segment, "On Points," covers the fast-growing junction of advertising, Big Data, and politics.
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The Cook Political Report Partisan Voting Index (PVI)

The 2014 Partisan Voting Index

Since 1997, the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voting Index (PVI) has been the gold standard in measuring how each state and district performs at the presidential level relative to the nation as a whole. Click below for the breakdown of PVI for every House district in the 113th Congress.
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The Rhodes Cook Letter

This first issue of "The Rhodes Cook Letter" for 2014 takes a look at the primary season that has just begun. The text focuses on the high profile Senate primaries. The charts seek to put this year's primary action into some historical context.

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