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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...

Governors Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, October 17, 2014

Arkansas: Of the 14 gubernatorial seats that Democrats are defending this cycle, this open seat is the only one in a state that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried. Democrats got an unusually strong candidate in former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, which kept the race is play, but the state’s increasingly Republican tilt is proving to be a bit too much. It probably doesn’t help Ross...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, October 17, 2014

Since March, I have been saying that Republicans had at least a 50 percent chance of retaking a Senate majority this year, and since July, I have upped that chance to 60 percent. There has been the normal ebb and flow of candidates' fortunes in many individual races since then, but the general direction of this election has remained pretty much the same. While the political environment is bad...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, October 15, 2014

There’s a very important part of the human brain's wiring that blurs painful events and allows us to move on. It’s how we manage to have multiple children, even though we know the pain of childbirth and 3 a.m. feedings. It’s how we can bury our loved ones, while not losing the capacity to love or care for others. We somehow manage to eat again after a particularly nasty bout of a stomach bug....

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, October 14, 2014

We’ve spent a lot of time looking over the messages emphasized most in 2014 TV advertising in the aggregate. Now that we’re in the final month of this cycle’s battle for the Senate, what issues are the two sides relying on most for their final arguments? Here are the top 15 most-mentioned issues and issue positions, as coded by CMAG, in Senate TV advertising last week—four weeks out from...

Michigan Senate|October 10, 2014

At the beginning of the cycle, this was the one open seat that Democrats weren’t all that worried about. The state tilts toward Democrats and they viewed former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land as one of the weakest challengers Republicans could have recruited...

Alaska Governor|By Jennifer Duffy, October 10, 2014

Republican Sean Parnell was serving as the state’s Lieutenant Governor in 2009 when then-Gov. Sarah Palin resigned her post, elevating Parnell to the state’s highest office. Parnell won a full term in 2010 with 59 percent of the vote. Parnell faces...

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The 2014 Political Environment

Updated October 21, 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.

Iowa  |  District 02  |  Loebsack (D)

Likely D
Lean D

Kansas  |  District 02  |  Jenkins (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Maine  |  District 02  |  Michaud (D)

Lean D
Toss Up

Michigan  |  District 07  |  Walberg (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Michigan  |  District 01  |  Benishek (R)

Lean R
Likely R

Election Day Countdown

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

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  • 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

Charlie Cook's Column

Democrats Face Strong Headwinds in Fight to Keep Senate Majority

October 17, 2014

Since March, I have been saying that Republicans had at least a 50 percent chance of retaking a Senate majority this year, and since July, I have upped that chance to 60 percent. There has been the normal ebb and flow of candidates' fortunes in many individual races since then, but the general direction of this election has remained pretty much the same. While the political environment is bad...

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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

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

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