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House Overview|By David Wasserman, September 5, 2014

Like rare rays of sun slipping through a patchwork of dark clouds, a few House races aren't shaping up to be so bad for Democrats after all. Of the 30 most vulnerable incumbents in our latest House ratings, eight are actually Republicans. These possible exceptions to the GOP tilt of 2014 are key to Democrats' efforts to limit their overall net losses in November. These races generally fall...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, September 4, 2014

From the ashes of one election come the sparks for the next. And, while I’m not wishing away 2014, I do think we’ll be spending more time than usual dissecting these midterm results. Specifically, we’ll be looking at the challenges awaiting the GOP going into 2016. While the key to Senate control most likely lies in red states like Alaska, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina,...

Political Advertising|By Ken Goldstein and Elizabeth Wilner, September 2, 2014

A significant electoral milestone is embedded in early September of every even-numbered year. You think it’s Labor Day, but that’s just its disguise. Sixty days prior to Election Day, a federal mandate kicks in requiring broadcasters to begin providing federal candidates with a “lowest unit rate,” or LUR. Like everything else about political media buying, this seems simple on its...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, August 29, 2014

The bad news for Democrats: out of the 30 House incumbents we currently regard as vulnerable - that is, either in our Lean or Toss Up columns in our latest ratings - 22 are Democrats and just eight are Republicans. Of those 22 Democrats, 17 are freshmen who won narrowly in the favorable year of 2012 but now must prove they can withstand a much less favorable climate in 2014. The good news...

Governors Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, August 29, 2014

Arizona:  The general election for this open seat has been a long time in coming.  Republicans held a protracted six-way primary on August 26.  State Treasurer and Cold Stone Creamery founder Doug Ducey won the nomination with 36 percent of the vote, followed by Mesa Mayor Scott Smith with 22 percent, and former GoDaddy.com executive Christine Jones with 16 percent.  Ducey...

National Politics|By Amy Walter, August 27, 2014

Despite dismal numbers for President Obama, a public deeply pessimistic about the direction of the country, and a Senate battleground based almost solely in red states, Republicans aren’t running up the score in Senate races, even in deep red states. Many are asking: why hasn’t the bottom dropped out on Democrats yet? The answer is: it already did. Since very early this cycle, both sides...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, August 26, 2014

Whenever some big story hits, we at CMAG get asked whether we’re starting to see it show up in political ads. The tumult in the Middle East? (No.) The border crisis? (Not so much—just in a trio of Senate races, plus here and there at the House level.) Politicians’ aversion to risk keeps most from airing ads that stake out any position on a moving national story. One big news story of 2014,...

House Overview|By David Wasserman, August 22, 2014

Next Tuesday marks the last major primary day of the year, as Arizona and Florida head to the polls for their primaries and Oklahoma decides a GOP runoff in the 5th CD. After next week, the only real House primary contests left will be in New Hampshire, where Republicans are holding competitive primaries in both districts for the right to take on Democratic Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie...

Montana Senate|By Jennifer Duffy, August 22, 2014

When U.S. Sen. Max Baucus announced his retirement, Democrats were quick to say that they would hold the seat without much effort. While that claim was premature, not even Democrats could have imagined the strange twists and turns that this race...

The 2014 Political Environment

Updated September 15, 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.

Massachusetts  |  District 06  |  Tierney (D)

Lean D
Toss Up

Rhode Island  |  Governor  |  Chafee (D)

Likely D
Lean D

Massachusetts  |  Governor  |  Patrick (D)

Likely D
Lean D

Alaska  |  Governor  |  Parnell (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Kansas  |  Senate  |  Roberts (R)

Lean R
Likely R

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

Democrats Have Plenty of Reasons to Dread November

September 12, 2014

As Congress returns to Washington this week for the few remaining legislative days before the midterm elections, lawmakers will compare notes on what they heard and saw back home. They will also share impressions they gleaned about what will happen on Nov. 4. Democrats' assessments will be particularly enlightening, and my guess is that those reports will be about as discouraging as they can...

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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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