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House Overview|By David Wasserman, October 24, 2014

"Double Down" is the name of a best-selling book about the 2012 election, not to mention a very caloric sandwich at KFC, but the phrase applies just as well to House Democrats in 2014. Everyone knows Democrats need a long-term, not short-term, strategy for winning back the House. But a party committee's job is to maximize seats in the short-term, and its first responsibility is to hunker down

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, October 24, 2014

The prospects remain very tough for Democrats to hold onto their majority in the Senate, but there is a new scenario emerging—albeit still unlikely—that is turning the majority math a bit on its head. As I have said previously, Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take the majority. The question has generally been whether Republicans just need to knock off six Democratic seats to get...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, October 22, 2014

Up until last week, Massachusetts's open 6th CD and New Jersey's open 3rd CD were the most-watched races in their respective states. But now that it's October and everyone is looking for potential surprises, some of the buzz in the Bay State and Garden State has shifted to two long-shot candidates both parties had previously written off: Democratic attorney Roy Cho (NJ-05) and GOP attorney

National Politics|By Amy Walter, October 22, 2014

We may not know the results of this election, but we do know this: neither party will have 60 Senate seats. While it’s more likely that Republicans will have the majority in 2015, it will be a very narrow one. As such, there’s very little that can get passed without support from the other side of the aisle, a.k.a compromise. Talk to any voter out there this year, and they’ll tell you two...

Chart of the Week|October 22, 2014

Candidates aren't the only ones on the ballot on November 4. Voters in 41 states will consider a total of 145 ballot initiatives, referenda, constitutional amendments, and bond questions. Many of these questions are a benign tweaking of a law or are necessary to bring a state law in line with a federal one. A number of states have questions on the ballot as a result of health care reform....

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, October 21, 2014

With just a little more than two weeks to go before the midterm election, Democrats are increasingly in need of a break or two to salvage their Senate majority. In my National Journal Daily column a month ago (September 14), after suggesting that Republicans had a 60 percent chance of scoring the six-seat net gain necessary for a majority, I asked what might go wrong for the GOP that could...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, October 21, 2014

Here are the top 15 most-mentioned issues and issue positions, as coded by CMAG, in the air war for control of the Senate last week—three weeks out from Election Day. While the messages counted among the ranks of the top 15 did not change from Week Four to Week Three, some interesting shifts in emphasis occurred, including Democrats doubling down on their argument that Republicans back tax...

Senate Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, October 17, 2014

New Hampshire: This contest between Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has tightened a good bit since the September 9 primary. There have been five polls taken in October that show Shaheen with leads of between one and six points. Shaheen only hit 50 percent in one of those surveys. According to the HuffPollster trend line, Shaheen has a 47.7-percent to...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, October 17, 2014

It's mid-October, so cue the craziness: if you believed every one of the hundreds of new polls or ad buys floating around, you might think Rep. Bill Keating (MA-09) is losing reelection in a heavily Democratic seat while liberal professor Larry Lessig's MayDay PAC is on its way to ousting Energy & Commerce Chair Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06). At times like these, it's best to take a deep breath...

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The 2014 Political Environment

Updated October 24, 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.

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  • Republicans are on track to pick up between four and seven seats; it is more likely than not that the number will be at the higher end of – and may exceed – that range. 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. Republicans have also successfully expanded the playing field of vulnerable Democratic-held seats, increasing their chances of winning the majority. Democrats have been limited in their ability to put GOP-held seats in play.

  • The current House breakdown is 233 Republicans, 199 Democrats, and three vacancies. 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 four and ten 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 in the Senate and the House, it won’t be as helpful in gubernatorial contests. As such, Democrats are likely to gain between two and four seats.

Arkansas  |  District 04  |  Cotton (R)

Lean R
Likely R

Nevada  |  District 04  |  Horsford (D)

Likely D
Lean D

New Jersey  |  District 05  |  Garrett (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Massachusetts  |  District 09  |  Keating (D)

Solid D
Likely D

Iowa  |  District 04  |  King (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Election Day Countdown

The Cook Political Report's 2014 midterm election countdown clock:

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  • The bible of the political community.
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  • Perhaps the best nonpartisan tracker of Congressional races.
    – David Broder, The Washington Post

Charlie Cook's Column

Kansas and Georgia Change the Equation on Senate-Majority Math

October 24, 2014

The prospects remain very tough for Democrats to hold onto their majority in the Senate, but there is a new scenario emerging—albeit still unlikely—that is turning the majority math a bit on its head. As I have said previously, Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take the majority. The question has generally been whether Republicans just need to knock off six Democratic seats to get...

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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

In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes looks back at the 2014 primary season.

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