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Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, September 16, 2014

The political media strategists recently summoned by the nation’s TV station executives to offer their thoughts on 2014 advertising toed the pro-broadcast line up until they were invited to offer some parting advice. Stop gouging our issue groups by charging them twice as much as you charge our candidates, suggested Guy Harrison of Republican media firm OnMessage Inc. If you keep it up, he...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, September 16, 2014

In bad midterm-election years, members of a president's party often find the political climate challenging. In some ways, it is like a swimmer encountering riptides or facing strong undertows. The degree of the danger varies from location to location, and in many cases, weak swimmers struggle in this environment; occasionally, even an Olympic-level swimmer perishes. In 2010—President Obama's...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, September 12, 2014

Primary season ended with a bang on Tuesday when 35-year-old Marine veteran Seth Moulton upset Democratic Rep. John Tierney (MA-06) in the Massachusetts primary. How did polls miss it, just as they missed Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss? One common thread this year has been that just about every voter who has woken up undecided on election day has voted for the "change" candidate. In...

Governors Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, September 12, 2014

Massachusetts: Attorney General Martha Coakley won the September 9 Democratic primary with 42 percent of the vote to 36 percent for state Treasurer Steve Grossman and 21 percent for Donald Berwick, the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services. Coakley faces former Harvard Pilgrim CEO Charlie Baker in the general election. Baker was the party’s nominee in 2010 and...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, September 12, 2014

As Congress returns to Washington this week for the few remaining legislative days before the midterm elections, lawmakers will compare notes on what they heard and saw back home. They will also share impressions they gleaned about what will happen on Nov. 4. Democrats' assessments will be particularly enlightening, and my guess is that those reports will be about as discouraging as they can...

National Politics|By Ethan Roeder and Brent McGoldrick, September 12, 2014

The hundreds of campaign managers and strategists now trying to keep up in the arms race to make their campaigns more data-driven are ignoring the elephant (or large donkey) in the room that could mean the difference between a balloon drop and a concession speech. The data tells us that there is no better way to save time and money, while increasing our productivity and reach, than to invest...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, September 11, 2014

Now that Labor Day is behind us, the most remarkable thing about this midterm election is how little has changed since Memorial Day. In the closest and most crucial contest, for control of the U.S. Senate, only the race in Kansas looks fundamentally different than it did three months ago. Strategists in both parties have been asking, "What's the matter with Kansas?" The Democratic nominee's...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, September 11, 2014

Back in the 2002 and 2004 elections, we heard a lot about so-called "Security Moms." Once focused almost exclusively on domestic issues like education, crime, and the economy, the priorities of these "Soccer Moms" shifted in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Instead of pocketbook issues, they were focused on peace of mind. They wanted a president who could keep the country...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, September 9, 2014

The start of fall brings prediction time—the kind of predictions you get held to, as opposed to the predictions you lob earlier in the year that might be forgotten. Having assembled a few predictions for a September 9 talk at the Television Bureau of Advertising’s Forward conference, I might as well double down by providing them here. About $2.3 billion was spent on local broadcast TV in...

Senate Race Ratings Map

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The 2014 Political Environment

Updated September 18, 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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  • 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.  By contrast, Republicans will defend 15 seats, only one of which is in a state that President Obama carried in 2012.  Republicans have also successfully expanded the playing field of vulnerable Democratic-held seats, increasing their chances of winning the majority.  Republicans are on track to pick up between four and six seats; it is more likely than not that the number will be at the higher end of – and may exceed – that range.

  • The current House breakdown is 234 Republicans, 199 Democrats, and two Democratic 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 two and 12 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.

Massachusetts  |  District 06  |  Tierney (D)

Lean D
Toss Up

Rhode Island  |  Governor  |  Chafee (D)

Likely D
Lean D

Massachusetts  |  Governor  |  Patrick (D)

Likely D
Lean D

Alaska  |  Governor  |  Parnell (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Kansas  |  Senate  |  Roberts (R)

Lean R
Likely R

Election Day Countdown

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

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    – 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

How Awful Will It Be?

September 16, 2014

In bad midterm-election years, members of a president's party often find the political climate challenging. In some ways, it is like a swimmer encountering riptides or facing strong undertows. The degree of the danger varies from location to location, and in many cases, weak swimmers struggle in this environment; occasionally, even an Olympic-level swimmer perishes. In 2010—President Obama's...

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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 takes a look at the 2014 primary season ahead of November's midterm elections.

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