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National Politics|By Charlie Cook, August 4, 2015

August is arriving, and we are entering week six of Donald Trump's rise—first into the double digits, now into first place—in the national polls for the Republican presidential primary race. While there are few if any experienced GOP pros or political reporters who think Trump can actually win the nomination, it's hard to argue with where he is right now. Even after his unfortunate remark...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, August 3, 2015

That Team Rubio in summer 2015 put up money for television advertising time in key early states in winter 2016 and it was considered big news, and the intense scrutiny of the Clinton and Bush campaigns' communications with stations or lack thereof, proves that the political world has gone over the falls for a certain data point which is being increasingly trafficked but is little understood.

Kentucky Governor|By Jennifer Duffy, July 31, 2015

Back in May, we moved this race from Toss Up to Lean Democratic. The Republican primary produced a weak nominee in businessman Matt Bevin, while Democratic nominee Attorney General Jay Conway is an experienced candidate who has been elected statewide. Our belief that Conway had an advantage in the general election was bolstered by the reaction of Republican strategists in the state who called...

New Jersey House |By David Wasserman, July 31, 2015

For over a decade, Democrats have fumed that GOP Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) is way too conservative for the upscale, socially moderate Bergen County voters who dominate his district. But, voters have kept reelecting him. In 2016, however, Garrett may be more vulnerable than ever before thanks to a firestorm of his own creation.

National Politics|By Amy Walter, July 31, 2015

Does the rise of brash speaking candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders suggest a new, more potent level of anger among the American electorate? An anger that has reached a tipping point and threatens to truly upend the system. Or are we seeing echoes of previously angry electorates that produced (ultimately unsuccessful) candidates like Howard Dean, Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan?

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 31, 2015

The job of a political analyst is to have a theory of what is happening and why, and what will happen and why. But an analyst also has the responsibility to ask: Am I right? Are things changing? Have there been events or circumstances that alter what was expected to happen? Has an inflection point been reached? And, if the current theory isn't going to play out, what will?

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 28, 2015

With Donald Trump dominating the headlines and cable-news shows, it's easy to get caught up in the machinations of the unfolding 2016 presidential campaign and lose sight of the stakes—which are even higher than a lot of people appreciate.

House Overview|By David Wasserman and Amy Walter, July 24, 2015

Nearly two years ago, House Speaker John Boehner faced an insurrection from the right flank of his party that forced a government shutdown and nearly cost him his job. This year, the governing environment has measurably detoxified, making passage of perpetually vexing items such as a long-term fix to Medicare physician reimbursement rates possible. Boehner's road ahead today looks less steep...

Oregon Governor|By Jennifer Duffy, July 24, 2015

On February 18 of this year, then-Democratic Secretary of State Kate Brown was sworn in as Oregon’s second woman Governor. Brown succeeded John Kitzhaber, who resigned under the weight of allegations of multiple ethics violations, many of which involved his fiancée, and voter dissatisfaction with the state’s health care exchange. Oregon does not have a Lieutenant Governor. Brown must run in a...

  • 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 and 188 Democrats, with 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 5-15 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 Jersey  |  District 05  |  Garrett (R)

Lean R
Likely R

Kentucky  |  Governor  |  Beshear (D)

Lean D
Toss Up

Florida  |  District 13  |  Jolly (R)

Lean D
Toss Up

Oregon  |  Governor  |  Brown (D)

Solid D
Likely D

Florida  |  District 07  |  Mica (R)

Likely R
Solid R

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    – David Broder, The Washington Post

Charlie Cook's Column

The Trump Conundrum

August 4, 2015

August is arriving, and we are entering week six of Donald Trump's rise—first into the double digits, now into first place—in the national polls for the Republican presidential primary race. While there are few if any experienced GOP pros or political reporters who think Trump can actually win the nomination, it's hard to argue with where he is right now. Even after his unfortunate remark...

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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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In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes takes a close look at the 2014 election.

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