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Senate Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, October 29, 2014

With less than a week to go before the vote counting begins, the battle for the majority of the Senate continues. At this point, there are 10 races in the Toss Up column, seven Democratic-held seats and three seats held by Republicans. All but one – Kentucky – are well within the margin of error. Republicans’ path to six seats and the majority hasn’t changed much in the last few months,...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, October 29, 2014

With less than a week to go, the momentum is clearly with Republicans, and House Democrats are bracing for the possibility that Election Night could be uglier than they originally thought. The DCCC has been forced to shift more and more resources to playing defense in Democratic-leaning districts, and several seats that looked in good shape a few months ago are now looking more precarious....

National Politics|By Amy Walter, October 29, 2014

One of the outstanding questions left in this election is whether the Democrats' ground operation – an operation that has proven to be far superior to that of Republicans in recent years - will be enough to help their candidates squeak out narrow victories. Thus far, Democratic incumbents have done a pretty amazing job in dramatically outperforming the president’s standing in the polls. The...

Chart of the Week|October 29, 2014

In The Cook Political Report's system of race ratings, the classification of "Toss Up" is used to refer to those races which are the most competitive of the cycle, and which either party stands a reasonable chance of winning. However, if the results of Toss Up races taken together really broke down like coin flips, we would expect to see parties walking away with roughly equal shares of these...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, October 28, 2014

After the obvious "Who's going to control the Senate after this midterm election?" question, several more questions come up in most political conversations these days. One recurring inquiry focuses on the role of the Affordable Care Act, with many suggesting that it has faded as an issue in the eyes of voters. People who monitor advertising, however, argue with that. "The ACA is back to...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, October 28, 2014

An uptick in education, the sudden emergence of financial reform, and drop-offs on prescription drugs and terrorism—the latter from the list entirely—represent the moves in what otherwise has been a notably stable ranking of the top 15 most-mentioned issues in Senate broadcast TV ad occurrences from three weeks before Election Day to two weeks out. As usual, this graphic by CMAG’s Harley...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, October 24, 2014

"Double Down" is the name of a best-selling book about the 2012 election, not to mention a very caloric sandwich at KFC, but the phrase applies just as well to House Democrats in 2014. Everyone knows Democrats need a long-term, not short-term, strategy for winning back the House. But a party committee's job is to maximize seats in the short-term, and its first responsibility is to hunker down

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, October 24, 2014

The prospects remain very tough for Democrats to hold onto their majority in the Senate, but there is a new scenario emerging—albeit still unlikely—that is turning the majority math a bit on its head. As I have said previously, Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take the majority. The question has generally been whether Republicans just need to knock off six Democratic seats to get...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, October 22, 2014

Up until last week, Massachusetts's open 6th CD and New Jersey's open 3rd CD were the most-watched races in their respective states. But now that it's October and everyone is looking for potential surprises, some of the buzz in the Bay State and Garden State has shifted to two long-shot candidates both parties had previously written off: Democratic attorney Roy Cho (NJ-05) and GOP attorney

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The 2014 Political Environment

Updated October 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 233 Republicans, 199 Democrats, and three vacancies. Democrats need a net gain of 17 seats to reach a majority in 2014. Because the House is well sorted-out, very large shifts or a change in partisan control of the House are unlikely. Thanks to President Obama's standing and the GOP's midterm turnout advantages, Republicans are poised to gain between six and 12 seats, with slightly higher gains not out of the question. If Republicans were to pick up 13 seats, they would win their largest majority since 1928, when Herbert Hoover was elected president.

  • 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.

West Virginia  |  District 02  |  Capito (R)

Toss Up
Lean R

New York  |  District 24  |  Maffei (D)

Lean D
Toss Up

New York  |  District 21  |  Owens (D)

Lean R
Likely R

New York  |  District 18  |  Maloney (D)

Lean D
Toss Up

New York  |  District 01  |  Bishop (D)

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

Questions and Possible Answers

October 28, 2014

After the obvious "Who's going to control the Senate after this midterm election?" question, several more questions come up in most political conversations these days. One recurring inquiry focuses on the role of the Affordable Care Act, with many suggesting that it has faded as an issue in the eyes of voters. People who monitor advertising, however, argue with that. "The ACA is back to...

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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

In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes looks back at the 2014 primary season.

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