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National Politics|By Richard E. Cohen, October 9, 2015

As the House of Representatives endures one of its most disruptive transitions in the past century, two fundamental points remain valid. Despite obstacles such as legislative and partisan gamesmanship, polarization, redistricting and personal eccentricities, the House is a vibrant institution where 435 often free-spirited individuals are elected every two years. And the power of 218 typically...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, October 9, 2015

Up until two weeks ago, the drama and larger-than-life personalities of the 2016 presidential race rendered the House an afterthought. It took a looming government funding/debt ceiling showdown and Speaker John Boehner's resignation to bring the chaos within the House GOP to the foreground, and the ongoing struggle reflects the larger, complex identity crisis within the party as a whole.

Political Books |By Michael Nelson, October 9, 2015

The argument for drawing oddly shaped lines on the map in order to create districts in which a racial minority constitutes a majority of voters—so-called “majority-minority” districts—has always been that racial gerrymandering is a necessary evil. It’s evil that voters won’t support candidates of a different race. But it’s necessary because this is the only way to ensure that minority...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, October 9, 2015

In a sit-down interview with the Washington Post, Donald Trump all but admitted that his bombastic, shoot from the lip campaign was running out of steam and he needs a second act. The polls (of which we know he is quite enamored) are showing the same thing. At best he's plateaued. In some places he's dropped. More important, his negatives among non-Republicans are sky-high and he's losing to...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, October 9, 2015

Incumbents elected in the 2010 midterms will face an electorate that is demographically more daunting in a presidential year.

National Politics|By Amy Walter, October 7, 2015

For all the talk about the strength of Hillary Clinton’s coalition against Sanders, it’s not much different from the one she put together in 2008. The one (and very important) exception is her strength today among African-American voters. Just take a look at the how well Clinton is polling in North Carolina among African-Americans today versus how she poorly she did with these voters in 2008....

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.

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, October 6, 2015

One of my favorite work-related pastimes is to comb through public opinion polls. Like a miner panning for gold nuggets, I’m searching for a new insight or something that illustrates a point more clearly. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted jointly by Fred Yang of the Democratic polling firm of Hart Research and Republican Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, is one of my...

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...

  • 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 Jersey  |  District 03  |  MacArthur (R)

Lean R
Likely R

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

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Charlie Cook's Column

The GOP’s Culture War

October 6, 2015

One of my favorite work-related pastimes is to comb through public opinion polls. Like a miner panning for gold nuggets, I’m searching for a new insight or something that illustrates a point more clearly. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted jointly by Fred Yang of the Democratic polling firm of Hart Research and Republican Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, is one of my...

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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