Cook Political Report

Founded in 1984 The Cook Political Report is an independent, non-partisan e-newsletter that analyzes elections for President, the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and Governors, as well as overall political trends.  Its founder, editor, and publisher, Charlie Cook, was an IOP Residential Fellow during the spring semester of 2013.  The Cook Political Report’s subscribers include lobbyists, trade associations, corporations, labor unions, Members of Congress, political action committees and interest groups across the political spectrum. All have come to rely upon The Cook Political Report for objective information and analysis about the political dynamics that will drive an election, which races are competitive and why, who is running in each state and congressional district, and where each contest stands. 

Director’s interns can expect to assist with a variety of tasks, including research projects, daily tracking of publicly available polling information, and data input.  They will also have opportunities to sit in on candidate meetings, subscriber briefings, and other relevant events throughout the summer.  The exact nature of the work will be directed by the specific analyst the intern is working with; our Senior Senate/Gov Editor Jennifer Duffy, House Editor David Wasserman, or our National Editor Amy Walter. The position will focus on several larger research projects, along with day-to-day interaction with subscribers and weekly publication support tasks.

Ideal candidates will be independently driven students with strong writing and research skills who possess the ability to comfortably juggle multiple responsibilities across a variety of subject matters. Additionally, the environment within which we conduct business requires interns to be able to deal with a range of political issues and candidates in an objective, apolitical manner.

Qualifications include:

  • Superior research and analytical skills;
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills;
  • The ability to work both independently and as a member of a team;
  • Exceptional attention to detail


2016 Intern Reflection

I simply cannot say enough great things about my summer with the Cook Political Report. From my first day, I was involved in political research and analysis beyond anything I had ever worked on in the past. The office is small, which gave me the opportunity to develop relationships with each of the exceptionally talented staff members. Working in a presidential election year further charged the environment. Each day was full with new research ideas from senior staff members that we interns pursued. Any Director’s Intern with the Cook Report is lucky to get to work with editors that bring such insight and expertise to the political fray; it certainly cuts through the morass of daily coverage that seems to dominate news cycles during election years.

The Cook Political Report may be the last place in Washington where “non-partisan” truly means just that. It’s difficult to underscore just how much credibility the Cook Report has built over the years as an unbiased source, and how especially important that is now in a more polarized environment. It was a special experience to meet candidates, conduct research, and contribute to reporting with an eye solely on what will happen, rather than what should happen.

I have always been passionate about politics, and the Cook Political Report allowed me to expand my knowledge to another level. I absolutely recommend Cook to anyone fascinated by campaigns and elections.

David Cohn '19

2015 Intern Reflection:

My Director’s Internship at the Cook Political Report could not have been more positive. Beginning my very first day, when I participated in a meeting with a candidate for congressional office, I was involved in a host of engaging projects and events. Perhaps what I appreciate most about my time at Cook was the ample opportunities to connect with a truly expert and talented senior staff. I had the chance to work directly with the organization’s House of Representatives editor, and many of my tasks involved assisting him with his own projects and conducting research on individual candidates and districts throughout the country. Additionally, everyone in the small office was exceedingly friendly throughout my internship, eager to discuss my own interests, and more than willing to share details of their own work.

Interning during an “off-year” in the election cycle was particularly interesting, as I quickly learned that nothing ever stops in the world of electoral politics. I enjoyed watching the wheels begin to spin on a number of campaigns—from high-profile presidential declarations of candidacy to more obscure individuals running in House districts throughout the country. I sat in on interviews with candidates, listened to speeches by members of the Cook staff, and attended a variety of events around D.C. Throughout my internship, my supervisors were generally quite flexible with my assignments, allowing me to focus on the projects that interested me most.

Interning at the Cook Political Report allowed me to expand on my great interest in United States elections while simultaneously providing an interesting lens through which to consider current political and policy debates. I highly recommend this Director’s Internship to anyone looking for a memorable, stimulating, and rewarding summer experience.

David Steinbach '16

2014 Director's Intern Reflection:

The Cook Political Report is one of the best places to be if you’re interested in campaigns, elections, and political forecasting. During this past summer before the November elections, there was always something exciting going on in the office that I was invited to be a part of, and I had the opportunity to meet several high-profile politicians in the process, such as Rick Perry, Tom Cole, and Bob Dole. Some of my most memorable days at the office were when I shadowed the senior staff in candidate interviews, meetings with politicians, and briefings with consultants, strategists, polling experts, and PACs. These private conversations allowed for revealing question and answer sessions that I would normally never be able to find in print, much less witness first-hand.

Cook Political is also a lean and efficient organization, and all the work I was assigned had a tangible impact for the senior staff, whether it was profiling candidates to prepare for candidate interviews or compiling a list of ballot initiatives to help predict voter turnout. My projects were assigned based on my interests, and the senior staff would frequently follow up and provide feedback. Other work I did consisted of day-to-day tasks that allowed me to explore the business and communications side of Cook Political, such as handling subscriber issues, managing site license members, and responding to the company inbox. And to top it all off, the office environment was incredibly welcoming and friendly: Everyone in the six-person office made the effort to get to know the interns, from eating lunch together to chatting about the latest gaffes to watching bits of Stephen Colbert at work. The Cook Political Report bridges multiple fields of politics, and the staff is both accessible and knowledgeable enough that no matter how specialized or broad your interest is in the area, there is something and someone to help you develop and pursue your interest.

Lynn Miao '16

Washington, D.C.
Communications/Press, Research