Sabato's Crystal Ball

Archive for August, 2008

Live From Denver

Daily Reports from the Democratic National Convention

, Deputy Communications Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Wednesday On Monday, James Carville said that the Democrats had yet to find their stride, and that in his opinion, the convention began not with a bang, but with a politically lifeless whimper. And he was right. Despite the fact that Michelle Obama delivered a magnificently written speech (go back and read the transcript, especially […]

Live From Denver

Daily Reports from the Democratic National Convention

, Deputy Communications Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Tuesday When I was growing up in Washington, veteran political operatives had a saying: “Never underestimate the Clintons.” Just when you thought they were conquered by scandal, or defeated by formidable opponents, they would rise from the ashes stronger, more tenacious, and even more determined to preserve their legacy as Democratic icons. This entire week, […]

Live From Denver

Daily Reports from the Democratic National Convention

, Deputy Communications Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Much of the commentary at the Democratic National Convention today centered not on Sen. Obama or his running mate, nor did many seem particularly concerned with the perennial themes of hope and change. Today, the watchword was unity. Specifically, party insiders and pundits spent most of the day wondering whether Sen. Hillary Clinton will, as […]

How the Convention Ball Bounces

Convention bounces in recent history

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Forget the Olympics. Political junkies are in the convention pre-season. As we approach the Democratic National Convention on August 25 to 28 and the Republican National Convention on September 1 to 4, analysts just want to know one thing: How big are the bounces? The “bounce”, of course, refers to the jump in the polls […]

The Democratic Ground Game

Can New Voters Make the Difference?

, Guest Columnist

From the time Barack Obama declared his candidacy for president, his campaign realized it would benefit from what came to be called the enthusiasm gap. “In most campaigns, it’s a challenge to drag people out,” Western States Field Director Buffy Wicks told a group of volunteer organizers gathered in San Francisco last summer. “We’re not […]

Getting More Out of the Polls

, Guest Columnist

Political observers have become more sophisticated in their reading of polls in recent years. They know enough now not to read too much into summer polls. Poll leaders in June are not any more likely to win than their opponents who trail them in the summer polls. By the time of the conventions, though, polls […]

Going for the Bronze:

Third parties to have an impact in '08?

, Senior Columnist

When political reporters run low on topics to write about, they often turn their attention to third parties–the “lovable losers” of American politics. They never win at the presidential level but often are called upon to add color to campaigns that are sometimes badly in need of it. Not since 1972 has a third party […]

The Other “House” Elections: Statehouses ’08

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Leave the presidential contest aside for the moment. At other levels of politics, the Republicans may eventually file the 2008 campaign under the Double Jeopardy category of “It Just Keeps Getting Worse”. Surely, GOP House strategists are asking themselves whether they are cursed this year. Just take a look at New York’s 13th district, which […]

Ninety Days and Counting:

The Outlook for the 2008 Presidential Election in Early August

, Guest Columnist

In less than three months millions of Americans will go to the polls to choose the next president of the United States. For the first time since 1952, neither the incumbent president nor the incumbent vice-president will be on the ballot. Instead, the Republican Party, which has seen its popularity and electoral fortunes plummet since […]