For Democrats to win back control of the Senate in 2004, they will have to pull off something akin to an inside straight -- very difficult, but not impossible. After all, not many people expected Republicans to score a net gain of two Senate seats in 2002 or that Democrats would pick up four in 2000. Although some point to the fact that Democrats have more seats to defend (19) than do Republicans…
With the war in Iraq over, the political focus is shifting to the role that the national-security-versus-economic-security debate will play in the 2004 presidential campaign and to the obvious comparisons between the situations of the two presidents named Bush. Certainly, both similarities and differences abound in the circumstances of father and son. One important, perhaps critical, distinction…
Although it is true that all bounces in presidential popularity are not created equal, some surges that follow major developments or big successes are more durable than others. In truth, things are mu…
The announcement that freshman Republican Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald of Illinois will not seek re-election throws the political spotlight, at least for a moment, back on the Senate. Republicans now hold that chamber by a slim majority of 51-49. How will next year's 34 Senate contests be decided? Two scenarios are plausible. The first is the level-playing-field scenario: Each race's outcome is inde…
With both Democratic and Republican House campaign committees grappling with the complexities of a new campaign finance law, both parties must be relieved that there are no competitive special elections in sight at this point in the election cycle. Putting aside the formality special election to replace the late Democratic Rep. Patsy Mink of Hawaii, the only other special election slated for this…
There is much to love about politics and the people it attracts, but one of the tiresome things about covering politics is the highly selective sense of outrage that exists among political people of all stripes. They're quick to pounce on the slightest transgression-whether real, imagined, or contrived-on the other side of the fence, but are trangely silent when something similar happens on their…
President Bush's re-election campaign has a certain Perils of Pauline aspect. Just as the job-creation situation showed signs of improving, Iraq suddenly turned worse. A month or two from now, we could see things in Iraq get better but see the jobs situation turn south again.For now, Iraq seems to be Bush's bigger problem. Since mid-March, we've seen the casualty rate…
It will be a week or two before the Democratic presidential contenders' actual first quarter reports to the Federal Election Commission will be public and a real, line-by-line analysis of their actual fund raising, spending and saving patterns and progress can be measured. But based on what the campaigns are claiming to have raised and other unrelated campaign developments, some generalizations ar…
As the nine Democratic presidential contenders do their impersonations of whirling dervishes, a confluence of four factors appears to be freezing much of the political activity that would normally be taking place on the House, Senate, and even gubernatorial campaign levels. The long-term consequences of the freeze are far from clear. But it is already creating anxiety, slowing candidate recruitmen…
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
How Fake News Undermines DemocracyJanuary 17, 2017
Almost 130 years ago, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” In a perverse way, BuzzFeed and CNN made President-elect Trump stronger this week.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 »