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POLITICAL ADVERTISING|By Elizabeth Wilner, February 11, 2016

Tuesday night seemed to seal the deal on a new merger, one that Wall Street won't like. As far as the country's most enthusiastic voters are concerned, campaign finance reform and financial reform are simply adding up to Wall Street reform. "Fixing" the Street is becoming a twofold cry to fix a broken political system and level the economic playing field.

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, February 10, 2016

1. Trump had a great night. While I am still quite sure that Donald Trump will not be the Republican nominee, unlike in the Iowa Caucus and he did turn in an impressive performance and got his vote out. Aside from calling his opponents foul, obscene names, he is becoming a better candidate than at the beginning of the race. But I still see Trump as more of a protest candidate, a vehicle...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, February 10, 2016

The quick takeaways from the Granite State: 1. Trump and Sanders won big, but haven’t put to rest questions about their electability and 2. The GOP establishment vacuum remains, but Marco Rubio, the big loser tonight, still remains the likeliest candidate to fill it.

House Overview|By David Wasserman, February 5, 2016

It's no secret that House Democrats, and most Democratic strategists in general, would love nothing more than for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz to win the GOP presidential nomination. If either were to top the ticket, many Republicans in swing districts would have little choice but to awkwardly run as far away as possible, while challengers could theoretically take advantage of sky-high base...

Kentucky Senate|By Jennifer Duffy, February 5, 2016

The last 10 days produced two noteworthy events in this race. The first occurred on January 26 when Democrat Jim Gray, the Mayor of Lexington, jumped into the race. It was the last day for candidates to file so to say that Democrats got a candidate at the last minute is not an exaggeration. The second event came Wednesday morning when Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul dropped his bid for the GOP...

Political Books|By Michael Nelson, February 3, 2016

William McKinley was a media pioneer. Who knew? As Rutgers historian David Greenberg records in Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency, McKinley was a presidential candidate in 1896 when “motion pictures were just escaping the vaudeville booths and amusement arcades and arriving in urban theaters.” McKinley’s younger brother Abner was an investor in the American...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, February 2, 2016

If you predicted that Ted Cruz would beat Donald Trump by a larger margin than Hillary Clinton would lead Bernie Sanders, you deserve a special pundit medal of honor. But, the topsy-turvy results of the Iowa Caucuses actually make some sense when you dig into the reasons behind them. In looking through the Iowa entrance/exit polls (voters are surveyed before they go into their caucus precincts...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, February 2, 2016

Both the GOP and Demo­crat­ic races will turn on wheth­er emo­tion tops or­gan­iz­a­tion.

Wisconsin House|By David Wasserman, February 1, 2016

On Saturday, Wisconsin Rep. Reid Ribble announced he will retire in 2016, becoming the tenth member of the GOP's class of 2010 to retire or seek other office this cycle. His retirement also creates the eleventh GOP open seat in a district with a Cook PVI score of R+5 or less, a swing seat exodus that could prove costly, especially if Republicans nominate a polarizing presidential nominee.

  • In 2014, a good political environment, a weakened Democratic President and several open Democratic-held seats in red states combined to give Senate Republicans a nine-seat gain and the majority. The 2016 cycle looks very different cycle for Republican, as the tables are turned. Republicans will defend 24 seats to just 10 for Democrats. Of those 24 seats, President Obama carried the states of five of them in 2012 by at least five points, and carried two more by one and three points. Neither party may be helped by open seats as we suspect there won’t be many retirements this cycle, particularly compared to the last three cycles. Democrats need five seats – or four if they retain the White House – to take back the majority. It’s still very early, but winning back the majority may prove more challenging than it looks today.

  • The current House breakdown is 246 Republicans, 188 Democrats and one vacancy. Thanks to President Obama's standing and the GOP's natural midterm turnout advantages, Republicans gained 13 seats in 2014, their largest share of seats since 1928. Democrats are likely to bounce back somewhat in the presidential cycle of 2016. But given how well sorted-out the House has become, netting the 30 seats they need for a majority looks like an unrealistic goal today. Today, our outlook is a Democratic gain in the 5-10 seat range.

  • The 2016 cycle will host 12 gubernatorial contests, including the special election in Oregon. Democrats are defending eight seats to four for Republicans. The marquis contests will be the Democratic-held open seats in Missouri, New Hampshire and West Virginia, and in North Carolina where GOP Gov. Pat McCrory is seeking a second term. With so few seats on the ballot, neither party is likely to make significant gains or sustain big losses.

Virginia  |  District 04  |  Forbes (R)

Likely D
Lean D

Wisconsin  |  District 08  |  Ribble (R)

Lean R
Solid R

Pennsylvania  |  District 07  |  Meehan (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Virginia  |  District 02  |  Forbes (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Virginia  |  District 04  |  Forbes (R)

Lean D
Lean R

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Charlie Cook's Column

In the Iowa Caucuses, Look for Results That Surprise You

February 2, 2016

Both the GOP and Demo­crat­ic races will turn on wheth­er emo­tion tops or­gan­iz­a­tion.

Read more »
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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, Senior 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

In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes takes a close look at the 2016 election.

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The 2016 Political Environment

Updated November 25, 2015 | As the 2016 election cycle begins to take shape, the Cook Political Report has identified several metrics worth monitoring between now and Election Day.

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The Almanac of American Politics