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National Politics|By Cook Political Report Staff, December 19, 2014

The votes have been tallied and all recounts completed. Congress even managed to adjourn sine die. That means it really is time to close the books on the 2014 election cycle. It also means that we are going to take some time off to recharge for the 2016 election. We’ll be back the week of January 12, 2015. In the meantime, here are 40 interesting facts about the 2014 election to hold you over while we are away. Happy holidays.

1. There were two magic numbers in 2014: 86 and 1928

- Democrats now have the lowest number of U.S. House seats they have held in 86 years, or since 1928.

- Democrats are tied for the lowest number of U.S. Senate seats they have held in 86 years, or since 1928.

- Democrats now hold fewer state legislative seats than they have in 86 years, or since 1928.

2. Republicans picked up nine seats to win the majority in the U.S. Senate. The GOP hasn’t won more than six Senate seats in a single cycle since 1994 when they picked up 10 seats.

3. Republicans didn’t lose a single incumbent Senator in a primary or in the general election for the first time since 2004.

4. Republicans defeated five Senate incumbents; Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Mark Udall (CO), Mary Landrieu (LA), and Kay Hagan (NC). The last time Republicans defeated more than two Democratic incumbents in a cycle was in 1980. Also, it was a bad year to be a Democratic Senator named Mark.

5. The 114th Congress will convene with 53 U.S. Senators who previously served in the U.S. House. This is more than in any Congress dating back to at least 1899 (courtesy University of Minnesota’s SmartPolitics).

6. Despite the closing CW that Obamacare had faded as an issue, the President’s healthcare law nevertheless was the #2 most-used issue in GOP-sponsored U.S. Senate general election broadcast spots, at 16.6%, after healthcare generally (20.6%, which includes anti-Obamacare spots) but well ahead of jobs (12.1%) (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

7. 58 percent of all Republican general election broadcast spots in U.S. Senate races were anti-Obama (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

8. 10 percent of all Republican general election broadcast spots in U.S. Senate races focused on immigration (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

9. The Senate race with the highest number of unique general election advertisers was Iowa, with 40 (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

10. 47 percent of all Democratic general election spots in the Colorado Senate race focused on abortion (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

11. The Senate race in which anti-Koch spots accounted for the highest percentage of Democratic spots was Michigan, at 35 percent (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

12. The three Republican outside group advertisers who were most active in Senate races (by number of races) were U.S. Chamber of Commerce (12), Americans for Prosperity (9), Crossroads GPS (9) (all elections) (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

13. The three Democratic outside group advertisers who were most active in Senate races (by number of races) were Senate Majority PAC (9), Patriot Majority USA (6), Vote Vets Action Fund (6) (all elections) (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

14. Number of Senate races with Democratic Spanish-language advertising: 5 (CO, GA, NC, NM, TX) versus the number of Senate races with Republican Spanish-language advertising: 2 (CO, TX) (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

15. Republicans won 57% of all U.S. House districts in 2014, up from 54% in 2012. But measured by land area, House Republicans will represent an astonishing 86% of the nation, up from 80% after 2012.

16. In 2010, House Republicans won 6.61% more votes than House Democrats, and won 33 more seats than Democrats. In 2014, House Republicans won just 5.71% more votes than House Democrats, but won 59 more seats than Democrats. Nationally, we estimate Democrats would have needed to win 9.73% more votes than Republicans in 2014 just to break even in the House.

17. After the 2006 election, there were 57 Democrats who sat in districts carried by George W. Bush. After the 2014 election, there are just 5 Democrats who sit in a district carried by Mitt Romney.

18. Not since Harry Truman has one party lost as many U.S. House seats in mid-term elections as have Democrats in 2010 and 2014. During Truman’s two mid-term elections, Democrats lost 83 seats. Under Obama, Democrats have lost 76 House seats.

19. There are no longer any Democrats in the U.S. House who represent rural Appalachia nor are there any white Democrats from the Deep South.

20. Of the 43 Republican House freshman, 35 (81%) are white men. Of the 17 Democratic House freshmen, just six (35%) are white men. Overall, 87% of House Republicans will be white men in 2015, compared to just 43% of House Democrats.

21. Of the 118 districts where less than 50% of residents are non-Hispanic whites, Democrats will hold 98 (83%). Of the 114 districts where over 80% of residents are non-Hispanic whites, Republicans will hold 97 (85%).

22. In the 24 states with competitive Senate or gubernatorial races, votes cast in the average House race declined by 30% versus 2012. But in the 26 "orphan" states with no competitive Senate or gubernatorial election, votes cast in the average House race declined by 43%.

23. The closest House race in the country was in Arizona's 2nd CD, where Republican Martha McSally defeated Democratic Rep. Ron Barber by just 167 votes. In 2012, Barber had defeated McSally by 2,454 votes.

24. In California, there were eight House races decided by 5% or less. Democrats won all of them. Incredibly, Republicans haven't picked up a House seat in California since 1998, despite two mid-term waves in 2010 and 2014.

25. In U.S. House races, although one side may have emphasized an issue more than the other, Democrats and Republicans both leaned on budget/government spending, healthcare, and taxes, at 1-2-3, in their broadcast TV ads. Democrats’ 4-point lead over Republicans in mentioning taxes no doubt was due to their charges of GOP support for tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

26. 18 percent of all Republican general election spots in U.S. House races featured Nancy Pelosi (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

27. 8 percent of all Republican general election spots in U.S. House races focused on immigration (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

28. The House race with the highest number of unique general election advertisers was CA-52, with 16 (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

29. Among competitive House races, the contest in which anti-Koch spots accounted for the highest percentage of Democratic spots was WV-03, at 33 percent with 14,607 total spots and 4,797 anti-Koch spots (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

30. The three Republican outside group advertisers who were most active in House races U.S. Chamber of Commerce (17), American Action Network (12), and Congressional Leadership Fund (11) (all elections) (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

31. The three Democratic outside group advertisers who were most active in House races (by number of races) were House Majority PAC (35), Patriot Majority USA (7), and Center Forward (6) (all elections) (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

32. And because we can’t help ourselves from looking ahead … Democrats would need to pick up 30 Republican-held House seats to take back the chamber in 2016, but only 16 of 247 House Republicans won their elections by less than 10% in 2014. By contrast, in 2010, 42 of 242 House Republicans won by less than 10%.

33. Republicans now have 31 governorships, which is the most they have held since 1998.

34. Democrats now have 18 governorships, which is the least they have held since 1999.

35. Four incumbent Governors were defeated for re-election in 2014; Republicans Govs. Tom Corbett (PA) and Sean Parnell (AK), and Democratic Govs. Pat Quinn (IL) and Neil Abercrombie (HI). The last time four or more incumbent Governors lost re-election was 2002.

36. In 2014 governors’ races, Democratic and Republican advertisers both emphasized budget/government spending and taxes as their #2 and #3 most-mentioned issues in broadcast TV spots, but Democrats made education #1 (by a hair) while Republicans championed jobs (courtesy Kantar Media/CMAG).

37. Republicans won 320 seats in state legislatures across the country in 2014, giving them 56.5% of all state legislative seats. This is the most the GOP has held since 1928 (courtesy NCSL.org).

38. Republicans now control 69 of 99 state legislative chambers. They control both chambers in 30 states, and control the legislature and the Governor’s office in 23 states.

39. Democrats have majorities in both legislative chambers in just 11 states; the fewest in 150 years (courtesy NCSL.org).

40. Finally, because the 2016 election is just 690 short days away … Hillary Clinton is much better positioned two years out from the 2016 election than she was two years out from the 2008 campaign. A Washington Post/ABC poll of Democratic voters taken in December of 2006 found her leading the field with just 39 percent of the vote. The most recent McClatchy/Marist poll showed her ahead of the pack with a whopping 62% of the vote.

Washington Post/ABC – 12/7-11/06McClatchy/Marist – 12/3-9/14
Clinton – 39%Clinton – 62%
Obama - 17%Biden – 11%
Edwards – 12%Warren – 9%
Gore – 10 %

In fact, the only other candidate to have as large a lead as Clinton this far out from an open presidential campaign was Al Gore. A June 1999 ABC/Washington Post poll found him with a 65-percent to 26-percent lead over Bill Bradley.