Cook: Signs Look Good for a Wave Election in ’18

“Since In­aug­ur­a­tion Day, Pres­id­ent Trump has had the low­est job-ap­prov­al rat­ings of any newly elec­ted pres­id­ent since the first ‘sci­en­tific­ally based’ poll by George Gal­lup in 1936. More than any­thing else, midterm elec­tions are ref­er­enda on the in­cum­bent pres­id­ent. Ob­vi­ously no one knows what is go­ing to hap­pen in next year’s midterm elec­tions, but ana­lysts who have watched con­gres­sion­al elec­tions for a long time are see­ing signs that 2018 could be a wave elec­tion that flips con­trol of the House to Demo­crats.”

Charlie Cook

Interesting Factoids About the 2016 Election


The Cook Political Report compiles 56 interesting observations about the 2016 presidential election. Here’s a sample: Trump won the White House by winning 76 percent of counties with a Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and 22 percent of counties with a Whole Foods Market. This 54-percent gap is the widest ever recorded. When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, it was 19 percent; when George W. Bush was elected in 2000, it was 31 percent; and when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, it was 43 percent.

Cook: Clinton Wins and Dems Take Senate

There is a food fight un­der way among many of those do­ing pres­id­en­tial-elec­tion mod­el­ing… It’s not my style or ex­pert­ise to put a spe­cif­ic per­cent­age on Clin­ton’s chances of win­ning, but, suf­fice it to say, it’s a really big num­ber. … The Sen­ate is tough­er to call. The strong like­li­hood of a Clin­ton vic­tory means that the Demo­crat­ic tar­get is 50 seats, a gain of four, with Vice Pres­id­ent Tim Kaine cast­ing a tie-break­ing vote if ne­ces­sary. Right now, I think the odds are highest for a four-seat gain, next likely would be five seats.

Charlie Cook

Is Clinton Not Getting or Not Taking Good Advice?

It’s in­ter­est­ing to watch Hil­lary Clin­ton’s highly schizo­phren­ic cam­paign. On one level, in terms of strategy and tac­tics, or­gan­iz­a­tion­al abil­it­ies, use of tech­no­logy, and the like, it is a very im­press­ive ef­fort, a blend­ing of the best from her 2008 cam­paign with the cream of the 2008 and 2012 Obama pres­id­en­tial ef­forts. … But as the con­cent­ric circles get closer to the can­did­ate, the people oc­cupy­ing the in­ner circles are heav­ier on long­time Clin­ton loy­al­ists rather than polit­ic­al pros, the cam­paign be­comes more opaque, and the tac­tics get more baff­ling. Wheth­er it is pre-cam­paign de­cisions on hand­ling emails, go­ing eight months without a press con­fer­ence, or the bum­bling hand­ling of her health situ­ation in re­cent days, the ques­tion keeps re­cur­ring: Is Clin­ton not get­ting good ad­vice or just not tak­ing it? One won­ders wheth­er there are enough people will­ing to stand up to her and tell her what she needs to know but may not want to hear.

Charlie Cook

Brokered GOP Convention Looks Ever More Likely

At this point, my gut sug­gests that by the time we get deep in­to the pro­cess, Trump will ap­pear to have the sup­port of the pop­u­list, less ideo­lo­gic­al third of the GOP, roughly where he is now; Cruz will have con­sol­id­ated con­ser­vat­ives and roughly one third of the party; a con­ven­tion­al can­did­ate (Bush, Christie, Kasich, or Ru­bio) will be pulling about a quarter, with the re­main­ing fifth up in the air. That spells a con­tested con­ven­tion.

— Charlie Cook in National Journal

Cook: Clinton Shouldn’t Turn Too Far Left

A hard move to the left would make her job of win­ning over in­de­pend­ent and mod­er­ate voters in the gen­er­al elec­tion even more chal­len­ging. In­de­pend­ents tend to have very com­plic­ated views of Clin­ton, see­ing her on one hand as smart, know­ledge­able, and com­pet­ent, but on the oth­er hand as not par­tic­u­larly likable or trust­worthy. Big ideo­lo­gic­al swings over the course of the cam­paign aren’t likely to help her cred­ib­il­ity. … It can’t be fun for Clin­ton to be Sanders’s piñata this month and next, but for March 1 on, it shouldn’t be that bad, and there is no point win­ning the nom­in­a­tion if you render your­self un­elect­able in the fall.

— Charlie Cook, National Journal

Cook: Cruz, Not Trump or Carson, to be Likely Anti-Establishment Candidate

I re­main con­vinced that between now and the March 1 Su­per Tues­day/SEC primar­ies, and par­tic­u­larly the March 15 set of primar­ies and some con­tests after, those angry and pro­foundly anti-­es­tab­lish­ment voters will have fin­ished vent­ing their spleens. They will have sent their angry mes­sages to the polit­ic­al es­tab­lish­ment and will turn to the ser­i­ous busi­ness of se­lect­ing a pres­id­ent, tak­ing in­to ac­count such things as tem­pera­ment and judg­ment, mark­ing the be­gin­ning of the end of their af­fair with Trump. They will co­alesce be­hind a more plaus­ible vehicle for their an­ger and anti­-es­tab­lish­ment views. That can­did­ate is likely to be Cruz.

— Charlie Cook, Cook Political Report.

Most Professed Independents Really Aren’t


Percentage of the 2012 electorate who were true independents, who don’t lean toward either party, according to the American National Election Studies survey, notes Charlie Cook. In 2012, the ANES survey “found that 87 percent of independents who, when pushed, conceded they feel closer to the Democratic Party wound up voting for Obama. The same percentage of independents who admitted a soft spot for Republicans went for Romney. In 2008, Obama’s hope-and-change campaign drew a whopping 91 percent of Democratic-leaning independents, while McCain won 82 percent of independents who leaned Republican. Simply put, many of the people who self-identify as political independents are, for electoral purposes, partisans. They vote almost as predictably as Americans who simply label themselves as a Democrat or a Republican.”

Cook Looks at a Post-Trump Election

It’s still a great question how this Republican nomination race will sort out once this Trump nonsense ends. The GOP splits roughly 60-40 these days: 60 percent of its voters are pretty conventional, mainstream Republicans, while the other 40 percent are of a somewhat more exotic variety, up from just a third a decade ago. This latter group is made up of three subgroups: secular, anti-establishment, tea-party adherents; evangelical conservatives driven chiefly by cultural issues; and those who are just really conservative and more ideologically driven than your normal garden-variety Republicans. … Historically, this collection of less-conventional Republicans has loomed large in Iowa, then gradually given way to more-mainstream GOP voters in the final stretch, but the harder-edged Republicans have been on the ascendency and may play an even greater role in choosing the nominee this time around than in the past.

Charlie Cook

Can the GOP Change — In Time?

The momentous events of the last week can be interpreted in numerous ways. But one thing has become increasingly clear: The Republican Party needs to change. … Simply put, Republicans are loaded up in a car, racing toward a generational cliff with their eyes focused on the rearview mirror, with many (but notably not all) oblivious to the societal changes taking place all around them and the growing wedge building between their comfort zone and presidential swing voters… Republicans need to do some soul-searching about their future and their relationships with voters of generations to come. Vibrant parties change with the times, adapt themselves to changing conditions and circumstances. Maybe this past week will help the GOP do this.

— Charlie Cook, National Journal.