Sabatos Crystal Ball

Archive for May, 2013


, Senior Columnist

Accurately or not, Barack Obama has been compared to a number of famous politicians:  FDR, JFK, Ronald Reagan, even Jimmy Carter. But no one as yet has compared him to Michael Dukakis. Yet as a reference point, Dukakis might be as good as anyone. A look at his vote-getting performance in his unsuccessful 1988 presidential […]


Exit Bachmann Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R, MN-6) decision not to seek a fifth term in the U.S. House makes it likelier that Republicans will hold her heavily Republican district. So we’re switching the rating in MN-6 from “leans Republican” to “likely Republican.” Yes, it’s odd to argue that a party is better served by an […]

Size matters

When it comes to U.S. House districts, that is

, House Editor

After the 2004 election, a map showing President George W. Bush’s (R) reelection map by county became a notable Republican souvenir and bumper sticker. Entitled “Bush Country,” the map showed a largely red map with the election results shaded by county. Of course, Bush only beat John Kerry (D) by about 2.5 percentage points, but […]

So what just happened in Virginia?

A brief history of Old Dominion nomination battles

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Almost all states consistently use primaries to nominate their candidates for statewide office (U.S. Senate, governor, lower statewide elected officials), although there are some exceptions. Utah, for instance, uses a hybrid convention/runoff system, which readers will remember led to an incumbent U.S. senator, Robert Bennett (R), failing to even advance to a two-person primary in […]

You’re Not From Around Here, Are You?

How migration does — or doesn't — change how a state votes

, Political Analyst, U.Va. Center for Politics

“I was born an American; I will live an American; I shall die an American.” — Daniel Webster While Daniel Webster died an American in 1852, his political legacy does not belong to just one state, but two: New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Born in New Hampshire, Webster represented the Granite State in the House of […]

Sanford joins “The Underachievers”

, House Editor

In winning his special election victory on Tuesday night, incoming Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) joined a dubious but sizable bipartisan House caucus: The Underachievers. Many House observers — including the Crystal Ball — have focused, understandably, on the small number of House members elected from districts won by the other party’s presidential nominee. These represent […]

Notes on the State of Politics

2016 Presidential Update: The newest shiny object Last week, intense speculation centered on freshman Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) possible presidential aspirations. The revelation has prompted all sorts of reactions, including a positive one from the unlikeliest of sources. While some have asked questions about his constitutional eligibility to run for the highest office in the […]


, House Editor

A former Republican governor of a deeply Republican state is running for a deeply Republican U.S. House seat, but he is best known for claiming to be walking the Appalachian Trail while he was actually visiting his mistress in Argentina, and he has a court date two days after next Tuesday’s special election because he […]