Sabatos Crystal Ball

Archive for January, 2017

The 2016 Presidential Vote: A Look Down in the Weeds

, Senior Columnist

If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency — and she took the popular vote by nearly 3 million — the narrative of the 2016 election would be far different. Rather than the storyline being Donald’s Trump triumph in the heartland, with its beleaguered blue-collar workers, the emphasis now would be on the Democrats’ ongoing success […]

Gerrymandering the House, 1972-2016

The high bar Democrats need to clear in order to win back the majority

, Guest Columnist

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a story we previously published in June 2015. Redistricting the U.S. House of Representatives is not a unified, national process, unlike most national legislatures. Rather, it’s the result of cumulative actions taken by individual states. Nevertheless, it is useful to look at the entire House to see […]

The End of the Beginning

Sic Transit the Transition

, Director, UVA Center for Politics

Tomorrow marks the start of the brave new world of President Donald J. Trump. But today marks the end of the Obama-to-Trump transition. They, and we, survived the interregnum, more or less — and it was not guaranteed and is worth celebrating. Truly, has there ever been as dramatic a contrast between outgoing and incoming […]

Virginia 2017, Part Two: The Republicans

Gillespie gets another statewide shot in an unusually competitive Old Dominion primary season

, Associate Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

Until former Rep. Tom Perriello (D) shook up the Democratic nomination contest in early January, the Republican field had generated most of the early buzz in Virginia’s 2017 gubernatorial race. But while some eyes have turned to the brewing battle between Perriello and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D), there is still plenty to discuss on […]

An Inexperienced Congress and Cabinet

Highlights from our friend Bruce Mehlman’s latest presentation

Dear Readers: Several times a year, Bruce Mehlman releases a fascinating PowerPoint presentation filled with interesting nuggets about American politics and government. Mehlman, a Republican lobbyist with the bipartisan firm Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, is a University of Virginia Law School graduate and friend of the Crystal Ball. Because we get so much out […]

2018 Governors: Overextended Republicans seek to thwart history

And watch out for fresh faces

, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

When President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office eight days from now, he will be completing a remarkable journey, going from private citizen to the highest elected office in the nation without any elected stop in between. But while Trump is, to put it mildly, a unique figure in presidential politics, his journey is […]

Virginia 2017, Part One: The Democrats

A surprising entry into the Democratic gubernatorial field upends the favorite’s coronation

, Associate Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

To the delight of Virginia political junkies, the Old Dominion has a notable election every November, with federal contests in even-numbers years and state elections in odd-numbered ones. So it’s always “on to the next one,” with eyes now turning to the state’s 2017 gubernatorial election to succeed Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). Virginia is unique […]


, Director, UVA Center for Politics

It’s already clear that the very strange political year of 2016 is bleeding over into the New Year. How could it be otherwise? President-elect Donald Trump, loved and hated by about equal numbers of Americans, continues to ignore or break with convention in a wide variety of areas. Just as the normal rules didn’t apply […]