Sabatos Crystal Ball

Archive for February, 2016


Upcoming Democratic calendar clearly favors Clinton, but Sanders has credible targets, too

, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

This is the second part of a two-part series analyzing the flood of primaries and in both parties from now through March 15. Last week we looked at the Republicans, and this week we look at the Democrats. Unlike the Republicans, who give states some leeway to come up with their own rules for allocating […]

Virginia: The Pivotal Primary?

Trump is favored but the Old Dominion may be Rubio's best chance to defeat him on March 1

, Associate Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

In November 2016, Virginia will easily be one of the most-watched states in the general election contest. The Old Dominion’s 2008 and 2012 presidential vote most closely matched the national popular vote, and it has become a pivotal swing state in a polarized country that doesn’t have many of them. However, some might not attach […]

The hour is growing late to stop Trump

If you had told us when Donald Trump entered the race that he would take second place in Iowa, win New Hampshire easily, and then triumph in South Carolina, you’d have needed smelling salts to revive us. But he’s done it, and no one else has really been able to shake the intense hold he […]

Clinton hangs on in Nevada

But she could still be in for a long slog

After very narrowly winning Iowa and losing New Hampshire in a blowout, Hillary Clinton has moved on to her “firewall” — the more diverse states that come after the lily-white leadoff contests. Clinton’s wall held in its first test in Nevada, but her modest margin of victory isn’t going to scare Bernie Sanders into surrendering. […]

Who Will Win the Nominations? Lessons from Iowa and New Hampshire

, Senior Columnist

The American presidential nomination process gives enormous influence to two small and, in many ways, highly unrepresentative states: Iowa and New Hampshire. Not only are Iowa and New Hampshire sparsely populated states without any major metropolitan areas — Des Moines is the 89th largest metro area in the U.S. and Manchester is the 131st largest […]

Republicans 2016: From South Carolina to the Ides of March

Taking a close look at the upcoming GOP primaries and caucuses

, Associate Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

After months and months of endless fascination with Iowa and New Hampshire, the bulk of the primary season will be contested over just the course of a single month. Between Feb. 20 and March 5, a whopping 37 states and territories will hold at least one party’s nominating contest, many both. In order to prepare […]

A Glossary of National Convention Delegate Allocation

, Guest Columnist

The objective of any presidential campaign seeking the nomination of one of the two major parties is pretty simple: In some way, shape, or form, all the candidates want to win. All other things held equal, those candidates would also like to keep winning, from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina and on and […]

HOUSE UPDATE: The Waiting Game

Lots of rating changes but few clear trends

, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

We are making 17 changes to our U.S. House ratings this week. On the surface, all that movement suggests that there is a lot going on in the battle for the House. Actually, though, the overall House picture remains largely where it has been for months: on hold until the presidential race gets sorted out. […]

The Republicans: Trump Soars, Rubio Falters

Kasich has a strong night, but where does he go from here?

Six months ago, Donald Trump as New Hampshire primary winner was almost unimaginable. Yet here we are: He triumphed, and it wasn’t even close. So much for the Iowa narrative, which held that Trump had no ground game and would always fall short of his predicted margin in polls. Not only did Trump sweep — […]


Will it help him make inroads with nonwhite voters?

, UVA Center for Politics

That Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire was not a surprise. That he won by so much is. It’s a tremendous shot in the arm for his campaign and a jarring setback for Hillary Clinton. Keep this in mind: While we and many others have been suggesting for months that Clinton could lose New Hampshire and […]


, Sabato's Crystal Ball

Last week, we wrote that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are the favorites to win New Hampshire, and while there have been plenty of fireworks between then and now (Monday afternoon), our overall assessment hasn’t changed. Polling in the New Hampshire primary is often far off the mark — the electorate has a remarkably high […]

Sanders, Trump still favored in New Hampshire

But fickle New Hampshire has a way of confounding the experts

, UVA Center for Politics

New Hampshire, as usual, will not be inclined to ratify the result of its early-state rival, Iowa. In open seat races, it’s natural for New Hampshire to zag after Iowa zigs: In the modern era of presidential nominations starting in 1972, there have been 16 contested presidential primaries (seven for the Republicans, nine for the […]

The Modern History of the Democratic Presidential Primary, 1972-2008

, Sabato's Crystal Ball

Most political observers consider 1972 the beginning of the “modern era” of presidential politics. After the controversial 1968 presidential cycle, the Democrats began to reform their nomination process to make it more inclusive and transparent, and to make its results more representative of the will of the party as a whole, not just the party […]

What we learned from Iowa

, UVA Center for Politics

Iowa is in the books, and we already have our first surprise: Ted Cruz confounded late polls showing him sliding and Donald Trump rising. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled to a near-tie. Last week, we asked five questions about what the Iowa results might tell us. What did we learn? 1. How real […]