Sabato's Crystal Ball

Archive for February, 2012

Romney’s Sigh of Relief

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Phew! The sound you hear is the loud sigh of relief from the Romney campaign. A great deal was on the line for Mitt Romney in the oddest of places — the state of his birth, the state where his dad served as governor, the state he won against John McCain four years ago. A […]

Crystal Ball Projection: Michigan & Arizona

, U.Va. Center for Politics

As John U. Bacon points out in his new book about University of Michigan football, Three and Out, the Wolverines’ fight song, “The Victors,” is unique among college fight songs in that, instead of exhorting the squad on to victory, it instead celebrates a victory already won. At the risk of being similarly presumptuous, and […]

The Santorum Surge and Its Larger Meaning

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

What a long, strange trip it’s been — and it is only February. Real votes make clear what polls cannot fully pick up. The Republican election season has been shaped by two forces, other than the obvious one to oust President Obama. First, the strongest potential candidates did not enter the fray, and the remaining […]

Notes on the State of Politics

Crystal Ball flashback: What fuels presidential approval? With increasing gas prices again dominating the national news — stories about prices at the pump led network news broadcasts on Tuesday night — we wanted to remind readers of a piece we published last year about gas prices and their effect on presidential approval. Former Crystal Ball […]

The Long Slog: Projecting the Republican Race Through June

Had evangelical Christians had their way in 2006’s Pennsylvania Senate election, then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R) would have been reelected in a landslide: among the quarter of the electorate that identified themselves as such, Santorum won 59% to 41%. The trouble for Santorum was that, of the non-evangelical three-fourths of the electorate, Santorum lost to his […]

Romney Tries to Match a Rare Feat

, Political Analyst

Correction: This article originally omitted James K. Polk, who won the presidency in 1844 despite losing his home state of Tennessee by 0.1 percentage points to Henry Clay. If Mitt Romney wins the nomination, he may face an uphill battle in winning the presidency because of an obscure historical oddity: Presidents who lose their home […]

A Tale of a Tweet

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Twitter is a perfect medium for the age of short attention spans. With a limit of 140 characters per tweet, one can’t say anything especially nuanced — though it is true that short phrases like “I love you” and “We declare war” have great power. Despite its limitations, every now and then a tweet can […]

Video: Nothing’s Easy for Romney

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Just how bad were Tuesday night’s primary and caucus results for Mitt Romney? And is Rick Santorum now his top challenger? Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato breaks down Santorum’s unexpected sweep and what it all means in our latest Crystal Ball video. Check it out for a look ahead to the future Republican […]

The Third Party Illusion

, Senior Columnist

If you’ve been following the political commentary in the national media recently, you’ve probably heard that the 2012 presidential election is likely to result in the largest vote for a third party candidate in many years, perhaps exceeding the 19% of the national popular vote won by Ross Perot in 1992. According to a number […]

Happy Trails: The Muted Effect of House Retirements

, House Editor, U.Va. Center for Politics

Generally speaking, if members of the U.S. House of Representatives want to keep their seats, voters are happy to oblige: since the end of World War II, the lowest reelection rate for incumbent House members was 79.3% in 1948, which was a huge Democratic wave year. But those figures don’t include members who decide to […]