Sabatos Crystal Ball

Archive for May, 2012

Presidential polling in June: Flip a coin instead?

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

“I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” — Socrates With all of the polls, models and history at their disposal, political analysts should be able to figure out who is going to win a November presidential election by June, right? Well, not quite. While we would modestly suggest to Socrates and our readers […]

House Update: Democrats California Dreamin’

, House Editor

Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman (both California Democrats) were put in the same district in redistricting, and they are locked in a knock-down, drag-out intraparty fight. But it’s possible that the upcoming primary is only a prelude to their real battle in November. That’s because the Golden State now has a top-two “Jungle Primary” […]


, Senior Columnist

It looks like it’s going to be another tough season for long-suffering fans of the Chicago Cubs. Two months into the 2012 baseball season, the Cubs are mired in last place in the National League’s Central Division with one of the worst records in Major League Baseball. But the patriarch of the family that owns […]

Wisconsin Recall: Process Aids Walker

, Senior Columnist

Note: This article is cross-posted from Rhodes Cook’s political blog. At this point, the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election June 5 appears to be Republican incumbent Scott Walker’s to lose. While the bête noire of liberal Democrats and organized labor for his efforts to curtail the collective bargaining rights of state public employees, Walker has virtually […]

What Does President Obama’s May Approval Rating Tell Us about His Reelection Chances?

, Senior Columnist

According to a Gallup Poll analysis of recent polling data on the mood of the American public, President Obama appears to face a difficult road to winning a second term in November. The specific indicators of the national mood included in Gallup’s analysis were economic confidence, the percentage of Americans citing the economy as the […]

Veepstakes: How might Romney narrow down the field?

, Guest Columnist

Although his vice presidential selection is likely months away, we suspect that even now, Mitt Romney and his team are beginning to narrow down their list of possibilities. Joel K. Goldstein, the nation’s foremost authority on both the selection and service of modern vice presidents, explains how outside factors influenced previous candidates’ choices, and what […]

Unemployment Update: Who Gets the Credit?

, Political Analyst, U.Va. Center for Politics

At the end of January, the Crystal Ball examined the latest state-by-state unemployment numbers and what they could mean for the presidential election. The fact that the nation’s economic difficulties have hit certain places harder than others could have a real impact on what we anticipate will be a close election in November. Our analysis […]

Sound and fury: Feeding Frenzies in the presidential silly season

, U.Va. Center for Politics

In the beginning, there was the Etch A Sketch. After the Illinois primary on March 20, which signaled the beginning of the end of the Republican presidential nominating process, Mitt Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom discussed how his candidate would pivot toward the general election: “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of […]

The states that put presidents over the top

, Political Analyst

We all think we know which states are the pivotal players in the Electoral College. The Crystal Ball’s most recent look at the map showed that there are seven “Super Swing States:” Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia. How these states vote on Nov. 6 will likely decide the outcome of the […]

A Senate that’s fit to be tied? Updating the battle for Congress

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Some analysts have been making the case that 2012 is going to turn decisively one way or the other — perhaps evolving into a 2008-style margin for Democrats or Republicans. Maybe they are right, but every objective piece of evidence so far suggests that this election will be quite close and highly competitive for the […]

Let’s not overreact to the Judd Mutiny

, Political Analyst

We would make a joke about President Obama only taking 59% of the West Virginia primary vote against a federal prison inmate named Keith Judd, but every possible one was exhausted on Twitter by Wednesday morning. Suffice it to say, it was an embarrassing performance for the president, albeit in a state he has no […]

Do Independent Voters Matter?

, Guest Columnist

Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, recently wrote a report for the centrist group Third Way about independent voters. Crystal Ball senior columnist Alan Abramowitz addressed that report in a recent article, and Eberly asked to respond. His point of view differs from Abramowitz’s and the inclinations of the […]

Readers React: Sloganeering on the Road to the White House

In 2008, Barack Obama used the phrase “Yes We Can” as part of his effort to energize millions of voters to support his presidential bid. On Monday, the Obama campaign revealed its 2012 slogan, “Forward,” at the conclusion of a seven-minute advertisement recapping the administration’s achievements. The one-word motto builds on the idea that some […]


, Senior Columnist

At first glance, the vote from the March Democratic presidential primary in Oklahoma looked like a misprint. The tally from Dewey County showed 86 votes for Randall Terry, 59 votes for Jim Rogers and 47 votes for Barack Obama. Terry is a lightly funded anti-abortion activist. Rogers is a frequent and largely unsuccessful candidate in […]

Rommey’s VP Selection: Hold Your Horses

, Political Analyst, U.Va. Center for Politics

Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee, attention has turned to his impending selection of a vice presidential choice. There has already been so much VeepWatch coverage one might think the deadline for Romney’s pick is measured in days or even hours. We here at the Crystal Ball are as guilty as anyone […]