Sabato's Crystal Ball

Archive for September, 2008

Voters, Start Your Engines

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

Presidential debate season is upon us. That means John McCain, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin are traveling around the country with huge binders of prep materials under their arms—and dreams of an eight-year relationship with the Secret Service dancing in their heads. For the rest of us, however, we’re getting ready to tune […]

Meet the New Map–same as the Old Map (Almost)

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

In early summer, the Crystal Ball took its first look at the likely November 4th Electoral College map. Our assessment was that, in the College at least, the contest appeared close. John McCain had 174 solid or likely electoral votes to Barack Obama’s 200 solid or likely. The lead switched once we added in states […]

Convention Comparisons

, U.Va. Center for Politics

When asked in 1957 what the greatest threat a politician faced, the newly-elected British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, is alleged to have replied: “Events, dear boy, events.” The politicians and convention-goers in St. Paul last week got a first-hand lesson on the way events can influence politics. With Hurricane Gustav reaching land along the Gulf […]

Mccain’s Message of Moderation

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Red Meat Gone, Green Backdrop Stays So, the Crystal Ball was right and the Crystal Ball was wrong. Yes, John McCain delivered a much more moderate message. But he also appeared, once again, against a green background for the first few minutes of the speech. In fact, he even added a stunningly bright, blue background […]

Obama’s New Look at the Map

, Senior Columnist

This is the time of the presidential campaign for “game-changing” moments, whether it is a huge outdoor acceptance speech in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains or the vice presidential selection of a largely unknown young female governor from Alaska. It is a potentially pivotal time in an historic election. But what the campaign of […]

Convention Memories

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

NOTE: As we conclude 2008’s two weeks of intense national political party conventions, Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato offers a retrospective on some of the 18 conventions he has attended since 1976. The Crystal Ball will begin our annual election coverage next Thursday, so watch your inbox! One of the privileges of age […]

Attack Dog: Palin and Simple

Reacting to Palin and Anticipating McCain

, U.Va. Center for Politics

DAY THREE Sarah Palin’s speech was perhaps the defining moment of the 2008 Republican National Convention. While the headlining act doesn’t take the stage until tonight, Palin’s leap into the spotlight had television viewers and convention attendees in a tizzy in the days and hours leading up to her primetime address. The speech she gave […]

What an Election!

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Two tickets full of history, one headed by the first African-American in position to become president, the other with a woman situated to become the nation’s first female vice president. Could it be that, in this increasingly diverse nation, we have seen the last of the all-white male party offerings that have characterized every presidential […]

Anxiously Awaiting the Alaskan’s Address

Day 2 Review and Day 3 Preview from St. Paul

, U.Va. Center for Politics

DAY TWO With Hurricane Gustav thankfully downgraded to a tropical storm, Republicans were glad to get that cloud from over their heads. Convention planners were very much determined to keep Gustav from raining on their parade, and the second day of the GOP Convention in St. Paul had A-list speakers aplenty. President George W. Bush […]

Reports From the Republican Convention

Day One Preview and Review from St. Paul

, U.Va. Center for Politics

DAY ONE: MORNING There were lots of words John McCain’s campaign wanted to focus on during the first day of the Republican convention. Unfortunately, the spotlight of Day One has been far from the Twin Cities, where the convention is being held. The word of the day is unquestionably “Gustav.” The Category 2 hurricane made […]