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National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 26, 2004

In most presidential election years, the focus on swing states doesn't come until some time after Labor Day, when the media and political aficionados begin to look at individual states and how each side could reach the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory. This year is different. Within weeks of Sen. John Kerry's nailing down the Democratic nomination, the battle lines were drawn and the…

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 25, 2004

President Bush and Sen. John Kerry each face challenges in their upcoming conventions, but the challenges are not of equal difficulty. For Kerry, the challenge is to clear the threshold of acceptability with voters. For Bush, the challenge is to change minds. For the better part of four months, this race has been effectively tied, with the two candidates running at about 45 percent or 46 percent,…

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, July 13, 2004

Welcome to the official start of the silly season, the time in a presidential election campaign when only fools and the truly, hopelessly addicted pay attention to the presidential horse race numbers in polls. From now until Labor Day, these polls will reflect the vice presidential selection bounce, then the Democratic convention bounce, and finally a Republican convention bounce -- assuming ther…

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, June 29, 2004

Monday's handover of sovereignty in Iraq and the events of the next few weeks truly represent a fork in the road for President Bush and his re-election bid. Americans certainly hope and pray that the handover goes smoothly, that the Iraqi people will accept the legitimacy of the new government and that the wave of violence will decrease as the Iraqi people begin to take command of their own countr…

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, June 26, 2004

Mixed news for the GOP this week: The presidential race remains very close now that President Bush's skid has halted; a GOP runoff in South Carolina has set the stage for the first Senate race centeri…

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, June 24, 2004

With a presidential race that looks likely to end in a photo finish, a fight for Senate control that appears increasingly competitive, and -- if you believe Democrats -- a closely divided House that might actually be in play, both parties are dreaming of achieving the political equivalent of a hat trick in 2004. Even though I doubt the Democrats have any real chance of breaking the Republican lock…

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, June 24, 2004

Before Sen. John Edwards became John Kerry's running mate, President Bush and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee had been running neck and neck for an amazingly long time -- nearly three months. In national polls, Bush and Kerry had each been fairly consistently getting the support of about 45 percent -- give or take 3 points -- of the electorate. Just as consistently, independent ca…

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, June 22, 2004

Today's runoff election for the Republican Senate nomination in South Carolina is likely to set the stage for the first hotly contested Senate general election in recent memory to be centered on trade. Republican Rep. Jim DeMint is expected to defeat former Gov. David Beasley to face Democratic State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Ernest…

National Politics|By Charlie Cook, June 20, 2004

It is always nice to make a prediction that turns out to be accurate, but sometimes you make one that ends up being even more on-target than you expected. Just about the time that Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts was announcing his selection of Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina to be his running mate, top Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd released a memo predicting that, based on…

  • 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.

Tennessee  |  Governor  |  Haslam (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Kansas  |  Governor  |  Brownback (R)

Likely R
Solid R

Illinois  |  Governor  |  Rauner (R)

Toss Up
Lean R

New Mexico  |  Governor  |  Martinez (R)

Lean D
Toss Up

New Jersey  |  Governor  |  Christie (R)

Likely D
Lean D

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    – David Broder, The Washington Post

Charlie Cook's Column

Democrats Find It’s Risky to Poke the GOP Elephant

June 27, 2017

There’s an old say­ing that close only counts in horse­shoes and hand gren­ades, and that’s cer­tainly how Demo­crats must feel after los­ing their third and fourth at­tempts of the year to wrestle away Re­pub­lic­an-held seats in spe­cial con­gres­sion­al elec­tions. In fair­ness, the first two shouldn’t fully count against them since the Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee was...

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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, Senior 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 close look at the 2016 election.

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