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POLITICAL ADVERTISING|By Elizabeth Wilner, October 6, 2015

At this stage in the 2016 presidential race, experienced paid-media data scientists remain scarce and sought after, but communications is where it's at. We're now into October and the case remains that the candidates performing the strongest in either Iowa, New Hampshire, or both first-in-the-nation states have done little to no television advertising at all.

New Hampshire Governor|By Jennifer Duffy, October 5, 2015

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan's decision to forego another two-year term to run for the U.S. Senate creates another open gubernatorial contest next year. That means that six of the 12 seats up in 2016 will be open. Both parties will make this seat a priority, and both may have to contend with primaries. The only announced candidate so far is Republican Chris Sununu, an Executive Councilor...

Political Books|By Michael Nelson, October 5, 2015

In 2015 Black Lives Matter means street protests to “end broken windows policing,” “limit use of force” by police, institute “community oversight” of law enforcement, and other items on the movement’s 10-point “Ground Zero” agenda.

New Hampshire Senate|By Jennifer Duffy, October 5, 2015

Democrats scored perhaps their biggest Senate recruiting success of the cycle this morning when Gov. Maggie Hassan announced that she will run against first-term GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Hassan has spent this year playing coy about her intentions and sending plenty of mixed signals, especially during months of budget negotiations with Republicans in the state legislature. Republican outside...

Louisiana Governor|By Jennifer Duffy, October 2, 2015

Voters in Louisiana head to the polls in just three weeks for the first round in the process of selecting a successor to Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is term limited. The conventional wisdom has long held that the race is GOP Sen. David Vitter’s to lose, but recent polling and a barrage of negative ads aimed at Vitter suggests that the race is closer than it ought to be. The reality,...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, October 2, 2015

A few weeks be­fore the 2010 elec­tion, I ran in­to then-House Minor­ity Lead­er John Boehner at a re­cep­tion. Pres­id­ent Obama’s ap­prov­al rat­ings were tank­ing, the Af­ford­able Care Act that had passed earli­er in the year was ex­ceed­ingly un­pop­u­lar, and, un­sur­pris­ingly, Demo­crats were in a free fall. Boehner saw me, walked over, leaned in, and said quietly, “We’re go­ing to win...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, September 30, 2015

By now, everyone has an opinion on who “won” and “lost” 1) the summer; 2) the last debate and 3) the momentum to win the party nomination. What’s more important is to see how actual voters see this race. The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll – the gold standard of public opinion polling IMHO – is out with its latest survey which both upends and justifies the current inside-the-Beltway...

National Politics|By Michael Nelson, September 28, 2015

If all goes according to the Commission on Presidential Debates’ plan, three of the four general election debates next year will be in battleground states and all four will be on college campuses.

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, September 25, 2015

In the wake of Speaker John Boehner’s resignation from Congress as well as national polls and other developments, it is hard to say which party should be more afraid ---Republicans whose party seems bent on committing self-immolation on both the Presidential and Congressional levels, or Democrats who early on pretty much settled on a presidential nominee now hopelessly mired in the State...

  • 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 247 Republicans and 188 Democrats. 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 15 gubernatorial contests, including three races in 2015, and 12 in 2016, including the special election in Oregon. Democrats are defending nine seats to six for Republicans. The most interesting races of 2015 will be the open seats in Kentucky and Louisiana. In 2016, the marquis contests will be the open seat in Missouri 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.

New Hampshire  |  Senate  |  Ayotte (R)

Toss Up
Lean R

New Hampshire  |  Governor  |  Hassan (D)

Likely D
Toss Up

Minnesota  |  District 02  |  Kline (R)

Toss Up
Likely R

Florida  |  District 02  |  Graham (D)

Toss Up
Lean R

New York  |  District 23  |  Reed (R)

Likely R
Solid R

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    – David Broder, The Washington Post

Charlie Cook's Column

Self-Immolation, Times Two

October 2, 2015

A few weeks be­fore the 2010 elec­tion, I ran in­to then-House Minor­ity Lead­er John Boehner at a re­cep­tion. Pres­id­ent Obama’s ap­prov­al rat­ings were tank­ing, the Af­ford­able Care Act that had passed earli­er in the year was ex­ceed­ingly un­pop­u­lar, and, un­sur­pris­ingly, Demo­crats were in a free fall. Boehner saw me, walked over, leaned in, and said quietly, “We’re go­ing to win...

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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, 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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Michael Nelson, Contributing and Book Editor

Michael Nelson, Rhodes College. Mike writes about the American presidency and presidential elections and has reviewed books frequently for publications ranging from the American Prospect to the Weekly Standard. He has won the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award for best book on the presidency and executive politics in 2015 and the Southern Political Science Association’s V. O. Key Award for best book on southern politics in 2007.
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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 2014 election.

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The Almanac of American Politics