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House Overview|By David Wasserman, July 18, 2014

For all of House Democrats' intractable problems this cycle, it must be said that they have done a decent job limiting retirements in marginal seats. There are just 16 open Democratic seats compared to 27 open Republican seats, which flies in the face of the theory that Democrats, glum about their prospects of taking back the House, are heading for the exits en masse. Of the 16 open...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 18, 2014

A National Journal story headlined "Darrell Issa Subpoenas Top Obama Political Aide" caught my eye over the weekend. It seems that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wants to hear this week from David Simas, director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach. In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Issa expressed...

Note to Subscribers|July 18, 2014

The June Rhodes Cook Letter is now available to Cook Political Report subscribers. In this latest issue, Rhodes takes a look at the 2014 primary season ahead of November's midterm elections.

National Politics|By Amy Walter, July 16, 2014

Back in 2006, Democrats were happy to have Hillary Clinton on the trail with them, but freshman Senator Barack Obama was the real hot ticket as a Democratic surrogate. Fresh off his successful 2004 convention speech and Senate victory, he provided Democratic voters with a message they were hungry for. The top surrogate for Republicans that year wasn't Pres. George W. Bush, whose approval...

Political Advertising|By Elizabeth Wilner, July 15, 2014

Not everyone loves the smell of napalm in the morning. Among the results of the first comprehensive look at the role of TV programming in the 2014 air wars, CMAG has found that airings of political ads during early morning and late-night TV are the least likely to be negative. Political spots aired during primetime TV are most likely to be negative, followed by “prime access,” the hour just...

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 15, 2014

Not everyone should watch the documentary Getting Back to Abnormal, to be aired on PBS next week. If you are someone who loves visiting New Orleans for the great food, terrific jazz, and unparalleled nightlife, or for the unique history and architecture, and you don’t want that idyllic image complicated in any way, you should probably avoid the film. However, if you are up for a strong dose of...

Governors Overview|By Jennifer Duffy, July 11, 2014

Hawaii: There is probably no state more difficult to poll than Hawaii. The polling in this contest provides ample evidence. There are polls that show Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie in good shape as he prepares to run for a second term while others show that there is a possibility that he could lose his primary in August against state Sen. David Ige, and if he survives the primary, that he...

Florida House|By David Wasserman, July 11, 2014

Democrats desperately need a game-changer to help them gain any House seats whatsoever this fall, and they appeared to get a jolt of good news on Thursday when Florida Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ruled two of the Sunshine State's 27 congressional districts unconstitutional. But there's no guarantee the ruling will have an impact in time for 2014, or affect more than one or two seats....

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 11, 2014

While I have never seen anyone literally thrown under a bus, I would imagine it is quite a grisly sight. In politics, we occasionally see someone throw an individual or a group on their own team under one. That is not a pretty sight either. Early this year, we saw Senate Democrats throw their House brethren under the proverbial bus with a Jan. 29 story in Politico headlined, “Democrats: Cede...

The 2014 Political Environment

Updated July 23, 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 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

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    – 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

Rick Perry Revisited

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...

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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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