Sabato's Crystal Ball

Archive for September, 2011

Democrats’ House Hopes Hinge on Obama

, House Editor, U.Va. Center for Politics

Just a day before Election Day, the painful reality hit home for Jimmy Carter: He was toast. As recalled in Dominic Sandbrook’s excellent history of the late 1970s, Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right, President Carter’s chances for a second term — despite the Iran hostage […]

Notes on the State of Politics

Too Late for Christie, Palin? While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has denied that he will enter the Republican presidential primary field, many political insiders continue to buzz over this possibility — especially after his Tuesday night speech at the Reagan Presidential Library. Those close to him — including his own brother, Todd — have clearly […]

Unemployment and Potus 2012: Another Look

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

We recently published an article asking, “What’s the Magic Number?” and suggested the national unemployment rate alone was not a particularly good indicator of the presidential results. That’s not to say high unemployment can ever help an incumbent president or party win a new term. It’s just not the alpha and the omega of an […]

New York’s Ninth District and Obama’s Orthodox Jewish Problem

, Senior Columnist

The results of last week’s special election in New York’s heavily Jewish Ninth Congressional District are being widely interpreted as signaling both problems for Democrats in the 2012 congressional elections and a major erosion of support for President Obama among Jewish voters. The special election, which was caused by the resignation of Democrat Anthony Weiner […]

Notes on the State of Politics

Some short takes on what’s going on in the world of politics: Ponzi scheme comments might not hurt Perry… in primaries During the Tea Party debate last week, Mitt Romney harshly criticized Gov. Rick Perry for his description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme.” Romney went so far as to call Perry’s description “unnecessary” […]

Reading the Tea Leaves for 2012

How will the Tea Party help shape the Republican nomination process?

, Guest Columnist

Monday night’s “Tea Party” debate on CNN showed the extent to which the Tea Party remains an important force in the Republican Party. But despite the continuing relevance of the Tea Party movement to American politics, it still lacks a center or a leader. This presents a challenge for Republican candidates for president who are […]

The States That Do — And Don’t — Pick Presidents

, Political Analyst, U.Va. Center for Politics

The old cliché is that “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation,” although the inverse of that is also true: “As the nation goes, so goes Ohio.” The Buckeye State, long recognized as the premier presidential bellwether, deserves its status. In the 28 presidential elections since 1900, Ohio has correctly picked the winner 26 times. […]

Perry Jumps Romney in Presidential Rankings

There’s a reason why Rick Perry took so many shots from so many candidates at his first two Republican presidential debates: He’s now the frontrunner in the race, and that is reflected in our presidential rankings. Perry’s entry into the race on the same day as the Iowa Straw Poll has effectively relegated all the […]

For the Campaigns, It’s Already About Electoral College Math

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Straw polls, real polls, debates, caucuses and primaries — these comprise the public side of presidential campaigns 14 months before Election Day. But behind the scenes, strategists for President Obama and his major Republican opponents are already focused like a laser on the Electoral College. The emerging general election contest gives every sign of being […]

Electoral College Mind Games

Possible scenarios for 2012

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Let’s suppose the presidential election turns out to be close. How could it play out? The Crystal Ball team analyzed the Electoral College map and plotted out some different scenarios, which we describe and illustrate below. Obama squeaks it out Scenario One: The Fickle Five Defect. Obama’s five closest victories in 2008 came in states […]

Is the Senate the Republicans’ To Lose?

14 months out, a tentative "yes"

, U.Va. Center for Politics

The recent decision by ex-Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) not to seek the seat of his retiring colleague, Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, was a big moment for Republicans because it gave them yet another clean shot at a Democratic-held Senate seat. Feingold, still popular despite his reelection loss last year, would have been a favored quasi-incumbent […]

One Year From Convention, What Does Obama Say?

, Guest Columnist

With Barack Obama’s 2012 renomination speech in Charlotte now about a year away, here’s a very simple political question with a potentially complex answer: In his 2012 bid to win reelection, what messages and themes will the president employ? However good the field of potential Republican challengers may or may not be — and there […]

Let’s Not Overreact to Perry’s Polling Power

, U.Va. Center for Politics

On August 24, Gallup released a poll showing Texas Gov. Rick Perry as the new favorite in the race for the Republican nomination. The poll soon had political tweeps buzzing, most of them wondering: How did that happen so fast? Perhaps Rick Perry capitalized on his close relationship with the Almighty and prayed for promising […]