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COMMENTARY BY LARRY J. SABATO

  • Off to the Races By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    The overall picture is this:  A Republican Senate gain of four-to-eight seats, with a GOP Senate pickup of six-to-seven seats the likeliest outcome; a GOP gain of somewhere around a half-dozen seats in the House; and little net party change in the gubernatorial lineup even as a few incumbents lose. So what could shift these projections in a significant way, beyond candidate implosions that move individual races on and off the board?

  • What’s the Matter With Kansas — And Hawaii? By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    Royal Blue Hawaii and Ruby Red Kansas are two of the most predictable states in presidential and Senate elections. Yet both states have incumbent governors from the dominant parties who are fighting for their political lives. What gives?

  • Senate: 2014 a Year All Its Own by Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    Analysts always strain to generalize about elections. We want to “model” them, find the common elements, and project them as early as possible based on the commonalities. That’s a legitimate approach, but we need always remember that every election is different. Every single one.

  • The Hidden Barrier to A Republican Senate Majority by Kyle Klondik

    If Republicans are to win the Senate, they probably are going to have to do something they haven’t done since 1980: beat more than two Democratic Senate incumbents in November.

  • Republicans: “Thank God for Mississippi!” By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    Establishment Republicans across the country are saying “Thank God for Mississippi,” but not in the derisive way that political scientist V.O. Key describes it above. The state’s Republican voters, and probably quite a few Democrats, allowed the GOP establishment to fend off a Tea Party challenge to a sitting senator. In the process, they kept Democrats from potentially expanding the Senate’s general election playing field in November and from giving anti-establishment forces in the Republican Senate caucus another ally.

    Mississippi, a state often ignored by the national political world, managed to do something rarely seen in politics: Produce two upsets in the same race in a three-week span. And it bucked a trend of generally pathetic turnout in primaries nationwide to produce the second and then first-largest primary turnouts in the history of Mississippi Republican politics.

    Mississippi, a trailblazing leader in voter participation? It has been a very odd primary season indeed.

  • Midterm 2014: Where Things Stand Now By Larry J. Sabato and Kyle Kondik

    Election Day 2014 is now almost exactly seven months away, which is both near and far.

    On the one hand, more than half of the states –29 of 50 — have passed their filing deadlines for major party candidates (the deadline in a 30th, Tennessee, is today). The late entries of Rep. Cory Gardner (R, CO-4) and ex-Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) into, respectively, the Colorado and New Hampshire Senate races are probably the last major candidate announcements we’re going to see this cycle, barring a late retirement or other big surprise. So the playing field is basically set.

  • 2016 Republican Presidential Update: A New, Familiar Name at the Top By Larry J. Sabato and Kyle Kondik

    In our first ranking of the very large and very unsettled 2016 Republican presidential field back in April of last year, we decided to not even include the name of one of the brightest stars in the GOP universe: Jeb Bush. We just didn’t think, at the time, that the former Florida governor and brother and son of presidents was all that interested in running.

    But during 2013 and into this new year, we’ve gotten the sense, like many others, that things might be changing. So much so that we now consider Bush the leader of the field if he decides to run.

    Why?

  • The Limited Meaning of Florida’s Special House Election By Larry J. Sabato and Kyle Kondik

    Rep.-elect David Jolly (R, FL-13) overcame money, some internal division among Republicans, and a name recognition and prestige deficit to defeat Alex Sink (D) in a much-watched special election in Florida’s Tampa-area 13th Congressional District Tuesday night.

  • House Update: Tiny Movement Toward Republicans By Larry J. Sabato and Kyle Kondik

    At this very early point in the 2014 race for the U.S. House, small Republican gains -- as in, less than five seats -- look likelier than a similarly small gain for Democrats. That’s because the Republican targets just look a little better than the Democratic ones.

  • 16 For 16, Part 2: An Elephant Rises From The Heartland? By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    As we discussed last week, the Democratic Party’s presidential field in 2016 hinges greatly on the decision of one person: Hillary Clinton. The Republican Party’s early primary picture is much more complicated, and the top-tier contenders are grouped much closer together at the starting gate.