Sabato's Crystal Ball

State of the Electoral College

Last updated Nov. 5, 2012

Leans/Likely/Safe: Obama-Biden 290; Leans/Likely/Safe: Romney-Ryan 248 – Click on maps for larger images.

Political Map of the United States (states sized by Electoral Votes)


Recent President Analysis

Does Obama Have an Approval Floor?

Comparing the heart of his coalition with the heart of George W. Bush's suggests that he probably doesn't

, Associate Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

On Dec. 3, 2013, President Obama hit his low point in approval as president, at least according to RealClearPolitics’ aggregate average of approval polling. That day, Obama fell below 40% for the first time in RCP’s measure, sinking to 39.8%, though he has since rebounded slightly to 42.1%. Two days after Obama dropped under 40%, [...]

Measuring Virginia Vote Share

On the surface, the 2009 and 2012 Virginia elections didn't vary much

, Associate Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

In 2009, now-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) won the Virginia gubernatorial election in a 17-percentage point rout. Three years later, President Barack Obama (D) won Virginia by almost four percentage points en route to reelection. The obvious story centered around differences in turnout: In 2009, just 40.4% of registered voters turned out to vote, and that [...]

Why Campaign “Game-Changers” Rarely Change the Game

, Guest Columnists

We’re pleased to feature a column by political scientists John Sides and Lynn Vavreck about their excellent new book, The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election. We heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to understand what did (and didn’t) matter in 2012 and what factors are worth noting as we look [...]

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 Representatives [...]

Demographics Overtakes Economy as Prime Presidential Election Indicator

, Political Analyst, U.Va. Center for Politics

One of the questions we asked prior to the 2012 election was whether or not state-level unemployment figures would matter much on Election Day. As it turned out, the answer was “probably not much.”
Throughout the 2012 election cycle, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report became a highly anticipated event. Politicians, journalists and election [...]

Closing the Book on 2012

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Now that we have official election results from nearly every state, we wanted to offer some closing thoughts on election 2012. So here are 10 bite-sized nuggets, an appetizer for your holiday feasts. As a programming note, we’re taking the next two weeks off to recharge for the next cycle. Our next issue of the [...]

Post-Election Book Will Break Down 2012

The University of Virginia Center for Politics is pleased to announce that its latest post-election book, Barack Obama and the New America: The 2012 Election and the Changing Face of Politics, is in final production, with a targeted release date of mid-January 2013.
Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato has brought together top journalists [...]

12 From ‘12: Some Takeaways From a Wild Election

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Programming note: The Crystal Ball is taking the week off for Thanksgiving next week, but we’ll be back with another edition on Thursday, Nov. 29.
So what can we glean from last week’s election? Plenty. Here are 12 takeaways from the 2012 election, presented in bite-sized pieces. One note: all vote totals and percentages used in [...]

Crystal Ball Has Another Strong Cycle

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Despite a topsy-turvy, hurricane-interrupted election that looked closer a week ago than it actually was on Election Day, the Crystal Ball accurately projected Monday that President Barack Obama would comfortably win a second term in the White House. Our final projection had Obama winning 290 electoral votes. It now appears that he will do better [...]

Projection: Obama Will Likely Win Second Term

, U.Va. Center for Politics

With a slight, unexpected lift provided by Hurricane Sandy, Mother Nature’s October surprise, President Barack Obama appears poised to win his second term tomorrow. Our final Electoral College projection has the president winning the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin and topping Mitt Romney, with 290 electoral votes.
This has [...]

Impact of Multiple Recounts Could Go Beyond Borders

, Guest Columnists

Almost everyone fervently hopes that the presidential election result is decisive, whichever way it goes. Few who went through the “overtime” election of 2000 would ever wish that on America again. But wishing may not make it so. Two politically experienced attorneys, Steven Okun and Thurgood Marshall, Jr., give us a glimpse of what might [...]

President Too Close to Call; Democrats Hold Senate Edge Prior to Final Weekend

Final predictions in Electoral College, other races, coming Monday

, U.Va. Center for Politics

Remarkably, after a year of intense campaigning, this election is not in the bag for either major-party candidate. It remains on the edge of the butter knife; the state polling averages tilt the Electoral College slightly to President Obama, and the RealClearPolitics national polling average moved into an exact tie late Wednesday afternoon. On top [...]

Three’s a Crowd: Where Third-Party Candidates Might Have an Impact

, Political Analyst, U.Va. Center for Politics

American electoral history is mainly a story of two parties. But every now and then, a third party or independent candidate makes a significant imprint on an election. In recent years, the main impact of third-party candidacies has been to play the role of spoiler, hurting one major-party candidate more than another. For example, Ralph [...]

President and Senate: Where We Stand Now

, U.Va. Center for Politics

There are a lot of fishy things going on in the presidential race.
An incumbent president’s approval rating is historically a good indicator of how he will do on Election Day. By this measurement, President Obama should be in decent shape: according to the RealClearPolitics average from mid-day Wednesday, Obama’s approval rating was 49.8%; that average [...]

Unpacking the Final Debate

, U.Va. Center for Politics

The conventional wisdom before the debate season was that President Obama would have the edge in a foreign policy debate, and the conventional wisdom was right. The president, through superior knowledge and having — after four years — a record that is defensible in the field, won the third debate on foreign policy. Incumbent presidents [...]