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National Politics|By Charlie Cook, September 23, 2014

Are things getting better for Senate Democrats? Certainly many of the better (more reliable) statistical models seem to suggest they are. Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight moved from a 64 percent chance of the GOP gaining a majority, predicted on Sept. 3, to a 54.7 percent chance on Sept. 15. As of Sept. 16, The New York Times' Upshot model, nicknamed Leo, put GOP chances at 51 percent; they were...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, September 23, 2014

The final sprint to Election Day can make you forget everything that came before it. And with the 2014 air war having engaged last fall, that puts a year’s worth of advertising at risk of being forgotten. So before that onslaught of GOP ads hits Democrats on terrorism (and, just sayin’, it hasn’t yet) or things otherwise start looking smaller in the rear-view mirror, let’s review the big...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, September 19, 2014

It says a lot about the climate in 2014 - not to mention the polarized state of House races - that indicted Staten Island GOP Rep. Michael Grimm could win reelection in New York's 11th CD. Yet, even as he awaits a December trial on federal tax evasion and perjury charges, a new Siena Research Institute poll shows him leading the Democrat, Brooklyn-based New York City Councilman Domenic...

Colorado Governor|By Jennifer Duffy, September 19, 2014

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper had a rough summer. He entered the summer in reasonably good shape in his bid for a second term, but a series of missteps have left him looking very vulnerable heading into the final six weeks of the campaign. It doesn’t help the Governor that Republicans nominated a mainstream candidate in former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez as opposed to former U.S. Rep. Tom...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, September 19, 2014

At this point, most independent political analysts are giving the edge to Republicans in this year's fight for majority status in the U.S. Senate. Personally, I give the GOP a 60 percent chance of taking the majority, while others put it a little higher or lower. At least a half dozen very close races will be determined by just a point or two, and those can turn on events that may have yet to...

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...

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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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  • 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 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.

Pennsylvania  |  District 08  |  Fitzpatrick (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Oregon  |  District 05  |  Schrader (D)

Solid D
Likely D

New York  |  District 21  |  Owens (D)

Toss Up
Lean R

New York  |  District 19  |  Gibson (R)

Lean R
Likely R

New York  |  District 11  |  Grimm (R)

Lean D
Toss Up

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

Razor-Thin Lead for the GOP

September 23, 2014

Are things getting better for Senate Democrats? Certainly many of the better (more reliable) statistical models seem to suggest they are. Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight moved from a 64 percent chance of the GOP gaining a majority, predicted on Sept. 3, to a 54.7 percent chance on Sept. 15. As of Sept. 16, The New York Times' Upshot model, nicknamed Leo, put GOP chances at 51 percent; they were...

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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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