Sabatos Crystal Ball

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

The Kennedy Assassination Document Dump Could Be a Fiasco

“The federal government’s long campaign to try to choke off rampant conspiracy theories about the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy is threatening to end this month in massive confusion, if not chaos,” write Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato and historian and journalist Philip Shenon in a column for Politico Magazine […]


The evolution of the Electoral College from 1824-2012

, UVA Center for Politics

Simple maps can teach a lot. Presidential election maps show at a glance where the nation was at four-year intervals beginning in 1824, when popular voting (of a very restricted sort) became established. John Quincy Adams lost that vote but won the White House anyway in the House of Representatives. We didn’t have maps that […]

Ohio, New Mexico the Best Presidential Bellwethers

How all the states stack up over the past 30 elections

, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

The Buckeye State, long recognized as perhaps the nation’s premier presidential swing state, deserves its status. In the 30 presidential elections since 1896, Ohio has correctly picked the winner 28 times. Ohio has company at the top though — it beats out another top presidential swing state, New Mexico, by only a hair. Like Ohio, […]

“Just a kid from (insert small town here)”

Test your knowledge of the little places that produce presidents

, Sabato's Crystal Ball

Hope is not only a good thing, as Andy Dufresne says in The Shawshank Redemption, but it’s also a small town of about 10,000 people in Southwest Arkansas, about 30 miles northeast of Texarkana. Oh, and it’s also the hometown of one president, Bill Clinton, and another who aspires (Hopes?) to also win the office, […]

Answers: Presidential candidates’ small-town roots

, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball

Here are the answers to our quiz about which small towns are associated with which past and present presidential candidates: A-6 — Democrats tried to humanize the egg-headed Adlai Stevenson by presenting him as “The Man from Libertyville,” a Chicago suburb. B-2 — Al Gore was born in Washington, DC — his father was a […]

1956 Presidential Election

President Eisenhower was immediately renominated for president despite health concerns and his age of 66, he was the strong favorite of the Republicans and held a good standing with the public due to a booming economy. The choice of running with Nixon again was somewhat controversial, but his confidence in the vice president held strong. […]

1968 Presidential Election

By now, the main political focus was clear: in 1968, thirty thousand Americans had been killed in action in the Vietnam War and television had brought the war into almost every American home. Due to social conditions and the war, Republican policy was heavily favored, and unlike the Democrats, the Republicans came into the election […]

1972 Presidential Election

With 15 competitors for the nomination, the Democrats had a marathon of primaries in the 1972 election. The early favorite was the former senator and vice-presidential nominee in 1968, Edmund Muskie from Maine. However, after reformations of party politics after the unsuccessful circus of the 1968 convention, the road to nomination was bound to be […]

1976 Presidential Election

The Democrats strengthened their majority in the 1974 midterm election due to the Watergate scandal and President Ford’s pardon of Nixon. This new Congress reorganized and undermined the seniority system that had directed Congress for years. This created a committee system that was more influenced by interest group politics than presidents and party leaders. Also […]

1980 Presidential Election

President Carter was challenged for the Democratic nomination by Sen. Ted Kennedy. The farther left, liberal voters tended to favor Kennedy and his access to financial support and family prestige only boosted his advantage. However, after the seizure of American hostages in Iran, the nation was rallied around the president, turning the public eye away […]

1988 Presidential Election

The election of 1988 was the first election in 20 years in which an incumbent president did not run. With no major figure or no major issues, the road to election day was a turbulent path. Most analysts regard this election as one of the most heated battles, with significant negative campaigning. Bush attacked Dukakis […]

1992 Presidential Election

President Bush began the election cycle looking unbeatable. Coasting on the apparent success of his leadership during the Gulf War, Bush appeared to have the strength to lead the United States into what he called “the new world order.” For a while, President Bush appeared so strong that many Democrats were reluctant to take him […]

1984 Presidential Election

President Reagan faced hardly any opposition to his re-nomination as the Republican bid for President. On the Democratic side, however, there were many new faces competing for the nomination. Sen. Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter’s Vice President, was the front runner throughout the election campaign. The most serious opposition were both Senator Gary Hart of Colorado, […]

2000 Presidential Election

There have been many close presidential elections, but never before- and maybe never again- will there be one as excruciatingly tight as the election of 2000. A contest that attracted more than 105 million Americans to the polls essentially came down to a few hundred ballots in one state: a margin of less than one-thousandth […]

1960 Presidential Election

In 1958, Democratic seizure of American politics tightened its grip. With 64 Senate seats, 283 House seats, and 35 states with Democratic governors, the environment for active policy and social change ripened. For the 1960 election, Sens. John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Hubert Humphrey raced for the Democratic nomination. Kennedy was from a wealthy […]