When the majority is at stake, the battle for the control of the U.S. Senate always becomes a math equation. What combination of seats will get one party or the other to the magic number? For Democrats this cycle, that magic number is four seats if Hilary Clinton wins the White House, or five if she isn’t successful.
Let’s start with the caveats: A lot can happen in the 34 days before the election. The polls are not as reliable as they used to be. People act in unpredictable ways in the polling booth. All that said, this race has fallen into a fairly predictable pattern. When Donald Trump veers off message and Hillary Clinton performs well, her lead swells to 6, 7, or 8 points. When Trump...
Timothy M. Hagle is an associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa with advanced degrees in both political science and law. He is writes and comments frequently on state and national politics in Iowa.
Most Republicans have been polling surprisingly well in suburban House races in recent weeks. Then there's GOP Rep. Scott Garrett, the chair of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, who is in deep electoral danger and has no one to blame but himself. Garrett is at more risk than at any time since he was elected in 2002, and he may not have the resources to keep pace with...
We’re in the political twilight period that comes after the first presidential debate but before reliable surveys measure the public’s reaction. Everyone except Donald Trump thinks Hillary Clinton “won” the debate, but don’t expect a big jump for her in the polls. After the two conventions and some bad weeks for Trump, Clinton jumped ahead by an unrealistic and...
In a campaign where the normal laws of political gravity often feel as if they don’t apply, it’s hard to know just how impactful the New York Times report of Donald Trump’s tax returns will play out over the next few weeks of this campaign. Despite Trump’s series of seemingly campaign-destroying statements, positions and behaviors, he remains very much “in” this contest with a narrow, but...
A Republican Senate incumbent defending a seat in Missouri is not typically a candidate for the Toss Up column, even in a presidential year, but that’s exactly where first-term U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt has landed.
Here’s a scary stat for Democrats: In 2012, President Obama won re-election by almost 5 million votes, but about 47 million eligible white voters without a college degree — including 24 million men — didn’t bother to vote. In 2016, these nonvoters are part of the demographic that is most strongly in favor of Donald Trump.
Dante J. Scala teaches political science at the University of New Hampshire and is the author of two books about New Hampshire presidential politics: The Four faces of the Republican Party: The Fight for the 2016 Republican Nomination (with Henry Olsen) and Stormy Weather: The New Hampshire Primary and Presidential Politics.
In 2014, a good political environment, a weakened Democratic President and several open Democratic-held seats in red states combined to give Senate Republicans a nine-seat gain and the majority. In 2016, the tables are turned. Republicans will defend 24 seats to just 10 for Democrats. Of those 24 seats, President Obama carried the states of five of them in 2012 by at least five points, and carried two more by one and three points. Neither party has been helped by open seats, particularly compared to the last three cycles. Democrats need five seats – or four if they retain the White House – to take back the majority. Wth two weeks before Election Day, Democrats appear to be on track to pick up between four and six seats.
The 2016 election resulted in a House breakdown of 240 Republicans and 194 Democrats, with one Louisiana seat headed to a December 10 runoff that is very likely to be won by a Republican. Democrats scored a net gain of six seats, a disappointing result for a party that had hoped to pick up more than 15 and cut the GOP's majority in half. Democrats' best hope for a majority in 2018 would be an unpopular President Donald Trump. But given Republicans' redistricting advantages and how well sorted-out the House has become, it could still be very difficult for Democrats to pick up the 24 seats they would need.
The 2016 cycle will host 12 gubernatorial contests, including the special election in Oregon. Democrats are defending eight seats to four for Republicans. The marquis contests will be the Democratic-held open seats in Missouri, New Hampshire and West Virginia, and in North Carolina where GOP Gov. Pat McCrory is seeking a second term. With so few seats on the ballot, neither party is likely to make significant gains or sustain big losses.
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
A Loud-Mouthed Fan Becomes Manager of the TeamJanuary 20, 2017
The general parameters are already well known. In November, Americans elected a president who had no government experience of any kind. He was clearly not well-versed in policy issues and had a proclivity to shoot from the hip, saying whatever came to mind, working off of instinct rather than expertise. We have elected outsiders before, but they have been the governor...Read more »
More Columns »
Sign up for Charlie’s columns as they are released on NationalJournal.com »
Amy Walter, National Editor
Elizabeth Wilner, Senior Contributing Editor
The Cook Political Report Partisan Voting Index (PVI)
The 2014 Partisan Voting Index
Read More »
The Rhodes Cook Letter
In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes takes a close look at the 2016 election.Download »