Sabato's Crystal Ball

Archive for September, 2012

Election Tilts Toward Obama, Senate Democrats

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Three weeks after the Democratic National Convention, we see little indication that the lead President Barack Obama took after it has faded. Obama is leading Mitt Romney by about four percentage points nationally, according to an average of national horserace surveys, and his edge has trickled down to the swing states. So with 40 days […]

American Crossroads, Crossroads Gps and the Growing Importance of Outside Groups in American Politics

, Guest Columnist

When the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law was enacted a decade ago, many political observers predicted that the legislation’s soft-money ban would do significant harm to the national political parties, would reduce the role of political parties in American politics, and would lead to the creation of shadow political parties in the form of outside groups. […]

House Battle at Relative Standstill, but Watch Generic Ballot

, House Editor

After shuffling many of our House ratings, it’s pretty obvious that the race for the House remains locked in a battle of trench warfare, with little obvious movement on either side. Given that the Republicans start from a position of great strength — Democrats need to net 25 seats to take control of the House […]

Less Than 50 Days to Go

, Political Analyst

While the presidential race remains close, it’s becoming clear that one would rather be President Obama than Mitt Romney at this point in the race. That’s because Obama retains a small lead in the polls, and history tells us that candidates leading at this point in the race often keep their leads. As of Wednesday, […]

Notes on the State of Politics

, Political Analyst

The Little Things Matter Many politicians may not want to admit it, but much of political success is built on timing and luck. In what is probably going to be a close election on Nov. 6, every small turn of fortune for each candidate could serve as the little push that puts one over the […]

Forecasting the Presidential Election: Other Crystal Balls

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Most of us spend our campaign days eagerly devouring the latest public opinion polls, and there is no shortage of them. In the six days after the conclusion of the party conventions (through Wednesday afternoon), there have been three major national polls released — not including daily tracking surveys by Gallup, Rasmussen and Reuters/Ipsos — […]

What Will Be the Next Senate Shocker?

, U.Va. Center for Politics

In nearly every Senate election going back 40 years, there’s been at least one jaw-dropping outcome on Election Day — the election of a candidate few saw winning until the closing days of the campaign, if even then. So the question in this year’s Senate races may not be if there is a shock, but […]

Reviewing the Convention Ratings

, Political Analyst, U.Va. Center for Politics

While usually the realm of sitcoms, game shows and sports, politics became part of the TV ratings discussion during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Breathless reports recounted how 35.7 million people watched Barack Obama’s acceptance speech while just 30.2 million tuned in for Mitt Romney’s. And don’t forget, Michelle Obama topped Ann Romney by […]

Goodbye Charlotte and 60 Days to Go

, U.Va. Center for Politics

(CHARLOTTE, NC) — Whenever the Library of America — the publisher that releases those elegant volumes with white, cursive writing on black covers — comes up with its next book of classic political oratory, we’ve got a pretty good idea of two speeches that won’t be included. After Mitt Romney gave a bland, workmanlike speech […]

Obama ’12: The Echoes of Incumbents Past

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Every reelection campaign is different because every president and the circumstances of each election are diverse. Barack Obama’s challenges are more unusual than most, but so are his advantages. Obviously, the problems for Obama are mostly economic. Below, Chart 1 shows the 11 presidents who have run for reelection since World War II and their […]

Is Obama as Goode as Gold in Virginia? Not Exactly

, Political Analyst

Today, the Virginia State Board of Elections ruled that former Rep. Virgil Goode has qualified for the state’s presidential ballot. The news immediately prompted discussion of what impact Goode will have on the presidential result in November as well as some ambitious declarations that Goode’s place on the ballot hands the Old Dominion, and thus […]