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COMMENTARY BY LARRY J. SABATO

  • What Would – and Would Not – Be Surprising in New Hampshire By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    Last week, we wrote that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are the favorites to win New Hampshire, and while there have been plenty of fireworks between then and now (Monday afternoon), our overall assessment hasn’t changed. Polling in the New Hampshire primary is often far off the mark — the electorate has a remarkably high number of late-deciders and switchers — but keep this in mind: Trump has appeared strong in New Hampshire for more than half a year. Since mid-July, he has led 72 straight polls, almost all of them showing a double-digit lead. And since early January, Sanders has led 38 straight polls, with most also showing a double-digit lead.

  • Sanders, Trump Still Favored in New Hampshire By Larry J. Sabato and Kyle Kondik

    New Hampshire, as usual, will not be inclined to ratify the result of its early-state rival, Iowa. In open seat races, it’s natural for New Hampshire to zag after Iowa zigs: In the modern era of presidential nominations starting in 1972, there have been 16 contested presidential primaries (seven for the Republicans, nine for the Democrats). In only four of those races did the same candidate win both Iowa and New Hampshire: Presidents Gerald Ford (R) and Jimmy Carter (D) won the first two contests against, respectively, Ronald Reagan in 1976 and Ted Kennedy in 1980, and Al Gore and John Kerry won both while cruising to the Democratic nomination in 2000 and 2004.*

  • Iowa: At Last By Larry J. Sabato and Kyle Kondik

    As the 2016 presidential race officially begins, both party contests are in a place that we, and many others, did not expect them to be. On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton faces a stern challenge from a stronger-than-expected foe, Bernie Sanders. And the Republicans could be on the verge of nominating Donald Trump. Still, no votes have been cast. Pulling down the curtain on a contest yet to begin is both premature and foolish.

  • 18 Days to Iowa: Presidential Demolition Derby Revs Up By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    What is there to add about Donald Trump that has not already been said? The political world has moved from disbelieving that he would even follow through and become a candidate, to expecting him to wither on the vine as more conventional choices gained steam, to accepting his nomination as a distinct possibility, to speculating that he will go all the way and defeat Hillary Clinton in November.

  • The Common Wisdom of New Year’s Day: Often Wrong for President By Larry J. Sabato

    The CW on New Year's Day Has Often Been Wrong

  • History in Red and Blue (and Green and Purple) By Larry J. Sabato and Tim Robinson

    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.

  • 10 Factors That Will Determine the Next President By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    Here’s a thought experiment: What if Republicans nominated the 2012 version of Mitt Romney — same fundraising, same baggage, same everything — at their 2016 convention? What sort of odds would that candidate have in 2016?

  • Republicans 2016: The Presidential Shake-Up Continues By Larry J. Sabato

    The Donald Trump Show continues to dominate the airwaves and the polls, and the other candidates seem mere apprentices by comparison.

    The billionaire’s appeal is very disproportionately tilted to the blue-collar half of the Republican electorate — many are the old Reagan Democrats who have long since defected from the party of their fathers. Much of the college-educated half of the party, by contrast, views Trump with disdain, but they are fractured and split among the rest of the contenders.

  • Three’s Company By Larry J. Sabato and Kyle Kondik

    Republican presidential polling leader Donald Trump signed a pledge earlier this year agreeing to support the eventual GOP nominee, but that agreement is certainly not legally unenforceable. If Trump wants to run as a third-party or independent candidate, there’s nothing stopping him. Trump is aware of this: The weekend before Thanksgiving, he retreated to his pre-pledge position, saying that he needs to be “treated fairly” by the GOP in order to rule out an independent bid. Some senior Republicans naturally wonder if the only outcome Trump will regard as fair is his installation as the party nominee.

  • 1968: Ball of Confusion -- A year of chaos that makes today’s political battles seem tame by comparison By Larry J. Sabato

    The UVA Center for Politics’ latest documentary, Ball of Confusion, has begun airing on PBS stations across the nation this week. Check your local listings to see when it’s playing in your area, and click on the image below to watch the trailer. The documentary recounts the three-way presidential contest among Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace held against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and civil unrest at home. That election, decided 47 years ago today, remains amongst the most extraordinary in American history, as Larry J. Sabato writes below.

    The Editors