Sabatos Crystal Ball

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

In Ohio, a labor showdown looms

, Political Analyst, U.Va. Center for Politics

In the vengeful world of politics, what goes around often comes around. After the November midterm elections in Ohio in 1994, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, Harry Meshel, received a telephone message: A county commissioner had called asking for Meshel’s resignation in the wake of the calamitous election, in which Republicans won control […]

A Declining Constituency

Union Voters and the Democratic Party

, Senior Columnist

Recent events in Wisconsin and a number of other states have focused attention on the role played by labor unions in contemporary American politics. As Scott Walker and other conservative Republican governors have sought to reduce the power of public employee unions in their states by weakening collective bargaining rights, the unions and their supporters […]


, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Thanks to Tim Storey and his colleagues at the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Crystal Ball can share with you the most up-to-date picture of power control in the states. It is summed up nicely in the two maps and one graph, below. Republicans now control both legislative chambers in exactly half the states, […]

Center for Politics Announces Release of “Pendulum Swing”

Sabato and National Team of Experts Examine Titanic Shift in American Politics

Today the University of Virginia Center for Politics released its latest book, Pendulum Swing, drawing on the collective wisdom of nearly two dozen of the nation’s top political analysts, journalists, and academics for comprehensive analysis of the 2010 midterm elections and the subsequent policy implications. As President Barack Obama makes his first address to the […]


, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

If we took the title of this short essay seriously, we’d stop right here. You can’t make sense of the act of a madman. Whatever political influences may have been at work —if any—in the shooter’s warped mind, the compulsions that sent him to his rendezvous with infamy last Saturday were undeniably psychotic. Americans are […]

Legislature Landslide

GOP makes historic state legislative gains in 2010

, Guest Columnist

Late last week, a state judge on Long Island in New York certified that Mineola mayor Jack Martins, a Republican, had won the race for state Senate District 7 by a mere 451 votes out of the more than 85,000 cast. With that win, the GOP took control of the New York Senate by a […]

Center for Politics Announces Plans for “Kennedy Half-Century”

On the eve of 50th anniversary of the election of President John F. Kennedy, the University Center for Politics announced details for a major new book on JFK by Center Director Larry J. Sabato and the production of a national television documentary focused on the legacies of President Kennedy and his administration. Also, later this […]


, Senior Columnist

Virtually every leading political indicator points to a midterm election this November that could range anywhere from difficult to disastrous for Democrats. The nation’s high unemployment rate, the declining approval ratings for President Barack Obama, and the Democrats’ lingering deficit in the generic congressional ballot all paint a dark picture for the ruling party. And […]

State Legislatures in Play

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

In the past two weeks, the Crystal Ball has published its first extended state legislative analyses, looking at the 6,115 seats in the state senates and the state houses up in November (in 46 states). Tim Storey of the NCSL identified the chambers that are competitive and thus most likely to switch party control after […]


, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Everyone already knows the 2010 elections are significant and competitive. Let’s add record-setting to that description. Why? 2010 features the most U.S. Senate seats on the November ballot (37) since 1962. 2010 also has the most elections for governor ever on the same ballot (also 37). 2010 has produced one of the highest percentages of […]



, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Every campaign season is filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly—enough to fill a book. Here’s an interim selection of examples as we prepare to enter the full-blown general election season. GOOD CANDIDATE DOING BADLY: In another year, Congressman—we mean Sheriff—Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) could win the Senate seat of retiring Sen. Evan Bayh […]

The Polarization of the Supreme Court

, Guest Columnist

On the eve of Elena Kagan’s expected confirmation to the Supreme Court, we are delighted to share with our readers the following piece from David Kuhn, the Chief Political Correspondent for RealClearPolitics. We have become accustomed to “minimum winning coalitions” in recent decades. But throughout the 19th century, a one-vote majority decided only 1 percent […]

All Politics Is National

Using the Generic Ballot to Forecast the 2010 State Legislative Elections

, Senior Columnist

Along with the entire House of Representatives and 37 U.S. Senate seats, voters this November will be going to the polls to elect thousands of state senators and representatives. Eighty-eight of the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers are up for election this year. And while these state legislative elections are less glamorous and attract far […]

Legislature Lowdown

State legislatures in play as redistricting looms

, Guest Columnist

Elections for the thousands of state legislative seats that determine partisan control of states are typically provincial battles drawing relatively little attention from national media. These legislative elections are often called hidden elections. However, the spotlight this November will spill over to these down-ballot races because redistricting is around the corner, so the results in […]

California Dreaming

New Primary System Unlikely to Reduce Partisan Polarization and Gridlock in Golden State

, Senior Columnist

California voters recently approved a ballot initiative that would drastically alter the Golden State’s election system. Instead of the traditional two-stage electoral process with separate Democratic and Republican primaries followed by a general election between the major party nominees along with any independent or third party candidates, the new system would feature an open primary […]