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Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, September 30, 2014

A considerable subset of political junkies also follow football. But for those who don't, we at CMAG use the term "gaining separation" to describe how one advertiser or one side in the air war builds up an advantage over another advertiser or the other side. Separation can be achieved among particular audiences through strategic ad placement. It also can be gained on particular messages in ads...

Kansas Senate|By Jennifer Duffy, September 29, 2014

This contest has become the Rubik’s Cube of Senate races. At the end of the day, it will be solved, but no one really knows how long it will take or how many different ways to solve the puzzle there really are. As a result, this race defies traditional analyses. Given what has become a complicated two-way race, polling is of little use. How the rift between conservative and moderate...

Governor Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, September 26, 2014

Arizona: The general election for this open seat between Republican state Treasurer Doug Ducey and Democrat Fred DuVal, the former chairman of the state’s Board of Regents and a former senior staffer in the Clinton White House, is just about a month old. While DuVal was unopposed for the Democratic nod, Republicans held a protracted six-way primary on August 26. Ducey won the nomination...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, September 26, 2014

Are the most important House races of the cycle the ones getting some of the least attention? In the "new world order" of House races, some of the most fascinating yet under-noticed contests are general elections featuring multiple candidates of the same party. Neither the DCCC nor NRCC care about them. But to some reform advocates, they could provide a blueprint for mitigating the...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, September 26, 2014

In the early 1970s there was a classic television commercial for Memorex, a company just entering the consumer market for high-quality audio cassettes. In the commercial, jazz great Ella Fitzgerald would hit a high note, shattering a wine glass. Then, they would play her back on tape, shattering the glass again. The tagline on the ad was, "Is it live, or is it Memorex?" Sometimes in politics,...

Chart of the Week|September 25, 2014

The chart below displays midterm results from every presidential administration since the passage of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. Results of midterm elections during the second term of the corresponding administration are in bold. A Historical Look at Midterm Elections Historical Midterms, by the Numbers Source: Vital Statistics on Congress Compiled by Loren Fulton

National Politics|By Amy Walter, September 24, 2014

There’s a reason why the people who run campaigns are rarely the people responsible for implementing policy. The job of a campaign operative is to work in absolutes – you win or you lose, there’s no gray area. The job of a policy operative, of course, is to look for the gray, to look for solutions within the increasingly narrowing options of our polarized political system. However, the way...

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...

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The 2014 Political Environment

Updated September 29, 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.

Kansas  |  Senate  |  Roberts (R)

Toss Up
Lean R

Arizona  |  Governor  |  Brewer (R)

Lean R
Likely R

Minnesota  |  Governor  |  Dayton (D)

Solid D
Likely D

Maryland  |  Governor  |  O'Malley (D)

Solid D
Likely D

Massachusetts  |  Governor  |  Patrick (D)

Lean D
Toss Up

Election Day Countdown

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

The Cook Political Report is...

  • 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

Is It Real, or Is It a Political Head Fake?

September 26, 2014

In the early 1970s there was a classic television commercial for Memorex, a company just entering the consumer market for high-quality audio cassettes. In the commercial, jazz great Ella Fitzgerald would hit a high note, shattering a wine glass. Then, they would play her back on tape, shattering the glass again. The tagline on the ad was, "Is it live, or is it Memorex?" Sometimes in politics,...

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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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