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National Politics|By Charlie Cook, August 23, 2016

The conventional wisdom holds that the worse a presidential candidate does, the more likely his or her party’s down-ballot candidates will do. Whether you believe that the winning party’s candidates benefit from coattails or that the losing party suffers from depressed turnout, you have a pretty good chance of being right. But a third factor, especially this year, could come into play:...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, August 19, 2016

To survive a potentially large loss at the top of the ticket, many House Republicans will need to win over not just ardent supporters of Donald Trump - many of whom might have considered themselves Democrats decades ago - but also traditional Republican voters who may be considering abandoning their party's presidential nominee for the first time. A new memo sheds light on which districts these...

North Carolina Senate|By Jennifer Duffy, August 19, 2016

Republican Sen. Richard Burr is no stranger to competitive races and it seems that his bid for a third term will be no exception. North Carolina is no longer a lock for Republicans and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is causing problems for some Senate incumbents. The passage of H.B. 2, the so-called bathroom bill, and GOP Gov. Pat McCrory’s difficult re-election race have added more...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, August 16, 2016

This week a friend showed me the New Yorker cover from June 1, 2015 with a drawing of seven leading candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Not one ended up making the acceptance speech. If someone suggested at the beginning of 2015 that the GOP nomination would not go to Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, August 15, 2016

The two major party conventions are now behind us and the consequent bounces have had time to settle giving us a presidential race that isn’t over, but one that is fully developed. Many observers have noted that in the last six decades of modern presidential polling, the candidate with the lead in the polls two weeks after the final convention has always won. Presumably, but not certainly...

Wyoming House |By David Wasserman, August 12, 2016

Former State Department official Liz Cheney started out the race for this open seat with plenty of skeptics after her disastrous and short-lived primary challenge to GOP Sen. Mike Enzi in 2013. But she's raised six times as much money as her two main primary competitors, state Rep. Tim Stubson and state Sen. Leland Christensen, and looks like the clear favorite in the August 16 primary.

GOVERNORS OVERVIEW|By Jennifer Duffy, August 12, 2016

Between the presidential race and the battle for the Senate majority, the 12 gubernatorial contests on the ballot this year have gotten very little attention. That’s unfortunate because half of the races are in the Toss Up column.

House Overview|By David Wasserman, August 12, 2016

On Wednesday, the DCCC released a memo arguing that "Donald Trump's likely defeat in many swing districts will be a devastating anchor that drags down House Republicans all across the country." To back up that claim, the DCCC cited internal polls showing Hillary Clinton with enormous leads in seven swing districts held by GOP incumbents, including FL-26, IL-10, and MN-03 (the DCCC didn't note...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, August 12, 2016

The latest ABC News/Wash­ing­ton Post poll puts Hil­lary Clin­ton ahead of Don­ald Trump by 8 points in the three-way tri­al heat, while both the Fox News and NBC News/Wall Street Journ­al polls have the former sec­ret­ary of State ahead by 9 points. CNN pegs her lead at 8 points, and CBS at 5 points. So there isn’t much ques­tion who is ahead, only how real and dur­able that lead is, how much...

  • 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. In 2014, thanks to President Obama's standing and the GOP's natural midterm turnout advantages, Republicans picked up 13 seats, winning their largest share of seats since 1928. In 2016, Democrats were already poised to bounce back amid higher presidential turnout, but the prospect of the broadly unpopular Donald Trump as the Republican nominee could put even more GOP seats in jeopardy. Still, given Republicans' redistricting advantages and how well sorted-out the House has become, it would be very difficult for Democrats to net the 30 seats they need for a majority. Today, our outlook is a Democratic gain of 5-15 seats, with substantially larger gains possible if the top of the GOP ticket appears headed for a landslide defeat in November.

  • 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.

North Carolina  |  Senate  |  Burr (R)

Toss Up
Lean R

Indiana  |  Governor  |  Pence (R)

Toss Up
Lean R

Washington  |  Governor  |  Inslee (D)

Solid D
Likely D

Vermont  |  Governor  |  Shumlin (D)

Likely D
Toss Up

Montana  |  Governor  |  Bullock (D)

Likely D
Lean D

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Charlie Cook's Column

A Big Presidential Win Doesn’t Guarantee Success Down-Ballot

August 23, 2016

The conventional wisdom holds that the worse a presidential candidate does, the more likely his or her party’s down-ballot candidates will do. Whether you believe that the winning party’s candidates benefit from coattails or that the losing party suffers from depressed turnout, you have a pretty good chance of being right. But a third factor, especially this year, could come into play:...

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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