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National Politics|By Amy Walter, July 30, 2014

There’s a certain irony in political operatives bemoaning the crass political strategy laid out in - what was supposed to be – a private internal campaign strategy memo for Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn. Anyone who has ever worked for or with a campaign has either written or read a memo like this one: a memo that made frank assessments of the strengths and weaknesses of one’s own...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, July 29, 2014

What’s in a name? If you’re running for public office, a lot. Ever notice how you never see a relative of a disgraced politician run? Whereas every cycle sees at least a couple of still-respected family names on the ballot. 2014 is a banner year for the family business. From Senate chambers past, the Ashcroft, Begich, Graham, Nunn, Pell and Pryor clans all have members seeking Senate or...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 29, 2014

A friend of mine who has been a lobbyist for years—and wants to remain anonymous so he can continue doing it a while longer—recently made the argument to me that the current Congress is not, in fact, the least productive in U.S. history. But you do have to go quite a way back: He says the Ninth Congress, from 1805 to 1807, during Thomas Jefferson's second term in office, did even less, because...

Senate Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, July 25, 2014

Primary season is largely completed, the August congressional recess starts next week, and the general election is a mere 102 days away. As such, this is as good a time as any to assess where the battle for the Senate stands. Just how close are Republicans to picking up the six seats they need to win the majority? The short answer is pretty close. Perhaps not surprisingly, Republicans and...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, July 25, 2014

It should be great news for House Democrats that a laundry list of moderate Republicans like Reps. Tom Latham (IA-03), Mike Rogers (MI-08), Jon Runyan (NJ-03), Jim Gerlach (PA-06), Frank Wolf (VA-10), and Tom Petri (WI-06) are retiring, leaving fairly marginal seats open. But given the beneficial national environment and midterm turnout dynamic, not to mention recent redistricting, Republicans

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 25, 2014

A piece this Sunday on Texas Gov. Rick Perry in The Des Moines Register by the paper's top political reporter, Jennifer Jacobs, caught my eye. Jacobs's observations about seeing Perry on the stump in Iowa in recent days matched my impressions from a meeting with him last month. Jacobs observed that "a guy who in the past didn't seem like he could run for a governor's office much less the Oval...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, July 24, 2014

Given the horrible set of events unfolding overseas, it’s understandable that Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State is getting lots of attention. If she runs in 2016, we should expect to see attack ads featuring her handing the “reset” button to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. However, while foreign policy is in on the front burner today, the bigger challenge for Hillary...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 22, 2014

Back in the mid-1990s, Harvard professor Clayton Christensen coined the phrases "disruptive technology" and "disruptive innovation" to describe certain kinds of game-changing developments in the business world. Now, in politics, we are seeing a variation on that theme. On the left, the Occupy movement helped spawned a new populism that is reflected in rising interest in Sen. Elizabeth...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, July 22, 2014

Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow was “the deciding vote to create Obamacare,” says a new TV ad by a Republican congressional candidate in Michigan. But Sen. Kay Hagan (D) also “cast the deciding vote for Obamacare” in the process of voting “96% of the time” with President Obama, per a recent Crossroads GPS ad in North Carolina. And so did Sen. Mark Begich (D), who “cast the deciding...

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The 2014 Political Environment

Updated July 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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  • 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 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.

Colorado  |  Governor  |  Hickenlooper (D)

Likely D
Lean D

Iowa  |  Senate  |  Harkin (D)

Lean D
Toss Up

Kansas  |  Governor  |  Brownback (R)

Toss Up
Lean R

Hawaii  |  Governor  |  Abercrombie (D)

Solid D
Lean D

Michigan  |  District 03  |  Amash (R)

Likely 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

Blocking the Vote

July 29, 2014

A friend of mine who has been a lobbyist for years—and wants to remain anonymous so he can continue doing it a while longer—recently made the argument to me that the current Congress is not, in fact, the least productive in U.S. history. But you do have to go quite a way back: He says the Ninth Congress, from 1805 to 1807, during Thomas Jefferson's second term in office, did even less, because...

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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 takes a look at the 2014 primary season ahead of November's midterm elections.

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