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Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, April 22, 2014

Individual political ads rarely inspire buzz for their content and quality. We’ve been talking about Americans for Prosperity’s air assault for months, but not so much for the ads themselves—except when they’ve been scrutinized and found to be somehow inauthentic—as for the subject, timing, breadth and money behind the effort. The vast majority of political ads are forgettable. So when two...

Michigan Senate|By Jennifer Duffy, April 18, 2014

When Democratic Sen. Carl Levin announced in May of last year that he would retire at the end of this Congress, no one would have guessed that the race to succeed him would be among the most competitive of the cycle. Michigan voters haven’t sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1994. It is also a place where we would have expected Republicans to host a primary between the establishment...

Tennessee House|By David Wasserman, April 18, 2014

Republicans' 2012 redistricting map effectively packed Democrats into just two districts, the Nashville-based 5th and the Memphis-based 9th, and the GOP's 7-2 edge looks solid for the foreseeable future. That's shifted the action to the primaries, and while GOP Rep. Chuck Fleischmann looks like a favorite in the 3rd CD, 4th CD GOP Rep. Scott DesJarlais currently looks like the most vulnerable...

South Carolina House|By David Wasserman, April 18, 2014

When South Carolina gained a seat in 2012 reapportionment, Republicans simply added a new GOP-leaning seat in the fast-growing Myrtle Beach area, and their 6-1 edge looks durable. After last year's national spectacle in the 1st CD special election between Republican Mark Sanford and Stephen Colbert's sister, attention has shifted to the governor's race and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham's primary....

Rhode Island House|By David Wasserman, April 18, 2014

With all eyes on a fiercely contested governor's race, Rhode Island's House delegation looks pretty well settled. Last cycle, Republicans threw everything they had at Democratic Rep. David Cicilline in the 1st CD, but still came up 12 points short. Cicilline looks safe now, as does 2nd CD Rep. Jim Langevin. If the state's sluggish population growth continues, Rhode Island may lose one of its...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 18, 2014

The most popular parlor game in Washington and among political aficionados across America at the moment is pondering who will run for president in 2016, who will be the finalists for each nomination, and who will ultimately win on Nov. 8. It's always a fun game to play, with an infinite number of factors to be weighed and no one knowing the actual outcome for a very long time. But as much fun...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, April 15, 2014

Number of new anti-“Obamacare” campaign or issue commercials launched since the first open enrollment window closed on March 31: 32. Number of pro-Affordable Care Act campaign or issue ads launched since March 31: 1. The Obama Administration may have reached its CBO-determined enrollment target or come darn close, but that hasn’t exactly stopped the ads. Seven unique anti-Obamacare political...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, April 14, 2014

Anyone who knows me well knows I am usually eyeing the oven for the next fresh batch of in-depth public-opinion data from Democracy Corps, a partnership between legendary Democratic strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville that just celebrated its 15th anniversary. It gets even better when the two team up with Resurgent Republic, cofounded by veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres, as they did...

Wisconsin House|By David Wasserman, April 11, 2014

Wisconsin GOP Rep. Tom Petri's retirement is just the latest departure of a pragmatic, old-school Republican this cycle. Petri was first elected in 1979 and in 2013, National Journal ranked him the 203rd most conservative Republican out of 234 in the House. He is the fifth member of the Republican Main Street Partnership to retire in 2014. Still, this is a seat Republicans should be able to...

The 2014 Political Environment

Updated April 22, 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.

  1. Right Direction/Wrong Track Polling
  2. Presidential Job Approval Ratings
  3. Consumer Confidence/Consumer Sentiment
  4. ACA/Obamacare: Public Approval
  5. Party Affiliation
  6. Democratic/Republican Party Favorability Ratings
  7. The Generic Congressional Ballot Test

Also: "What It Takes:" 2014 House and Senate Math

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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 233 Republicans, 199 Democrats, and three vacancies (one Republican and two Democratic). 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, they remain on track to lose between two and four seats. 

Hawaii  |  District 01  |  Hanabusa (D)

Solid D
Likely D

Florida  |  District 10  |  Webster (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Wisconsin  |  District 06  |  Petri (R)

Likely R
Solid R

North Carolina  |  District 02  |  Ellmers (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Michigan  |  District 08  |  Rogers (R)

Lean R
Solid R

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

Ten Years of Campaign Ads

Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group has classified more than 50,000 TV ads in races for president on down to local office over the past ten years. CMAG’s Harley Ellenberger and Elizabeth Wilner present the largest interactive compilation of political ads ever assembled.
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Charlie Cook's Column

Playing the Name Game for 2016

April 18, 2014

The most popular parlor game in Washington and among political aficionados across America at the moment is pondering who will run for president in 2016, who will be the finalists for each nomination, and who will ultimately win on Nov. 8. It's always a fun game to play, with an infinite number of factors to be weighed and no one knowing the actual outcome for a very long time. But as much fun...

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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, 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

This first issue of "The Rhodes Cook Letter" for 2014 takes a look at the primary season that has just begun. The text focuses on the high profile Senate primaries. The charts seek to put this year's primary action into some historical context.

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