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COMMENTARY BY LARRY J. SABATO

  • The Democrats’ Mythical Third Term Obstacle By Joel K. Goldstein

    Facts, Justice Louis Brandeis taught, are the basis of understanding. Yet facts, even if by definition true, can be misleading when stated imprecisely, without necessary qualifications, or out of context. The misleading power of truth was evident in recent political reporting that invoked history to suggest that Democratic presidential candidates have an uphill climb in winning the White House in 2016 because only once since 1951 has a party won the presidency in three straight elections.

  • President 2016: The Clash of Dynasties By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    In the aftermath of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) announcement speech on Monday, Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted that “Several Dem strategists confess to pangs of concern watching Jeb speech right now.” Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post replied to Haberman, saying that he was hearing the same thing.

    These are just the latest examples of the press citing Hilary Clinton aides or unaffiliated Democrats saying the campaign most fears facing Jeb Bush. Maybe it’s true. But pardon our skepticism. We suspect the Clinton camp would welcome Bush as the GOP nominee, and whispered worries to the contrary could very well just be orchestrated noise. Bush would bring the elimination of dynasty as an issue and no generational contrast. Moreover, the Clinton team already knows exactly how they’ll use the Bush 41 and 43 baggage as campaign projectiles.

  • The Map: 11 Angles on the Electoral College By Geoffrey Skelley, Kyle Kondik, and Larry J. Sabato

    Earlier this week, we debuted our initial Crystal Ball Electoral College ratings in Politico Magazine . We’ve reprinted that column below for those who did not see it. As promised, we have elaborated on the map and our reasoning for the initial judgments.

  • Republicans in 2016: Rubio Edges Ahead of Walker By Geoffrey Skelley, Kyle Kondik, and Larry J. Sabato

    For Republicans looking ahead to 2016, Florida is the pivotal state in the Electoral College. Naturally, we can’t know exactly what will happen a year and a half from now, but from our current vantage point, it appears very likely that the GOP must win the state to have a shot at winning 270 or more electoral votes and control of the White House.

    Given the state’s importance, particularly to the Republicans, it seems appropriate that the top two contenders for the party’s presidential nomination in the Crystal Ball ’s rankings now hail from the Sunshine State.

  • Clinton's Short List of Rivals By Larry J. Sabato and Kyle Kondik

    The least shocking announcement since… well… Rand Paul’s presidential launch last week is now in the books: Hillary Clinton is running for president.

    The perfunctory announcement came Sunday afternoon via a roughly 2.5-minute video, which is clearly targeted at key Democratic constituencies, like women, minorities, gays and lesbians, and labor. Clinton herself doesn’t appear until after the video’s halfway point, and she doesn’t interact with any of the others in the video.

  • 2016 Republican Nomination: The Race “Officially” Begins by Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    Last week, a Crystal Ball reader sent us an e-mail asking if now would be the time to remove “low name ID nationally” from our list of negatives for possible presidential aspirant Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN). We absolutely agree, given the turmoil surrounding Indiana’s new religious freedom law: There’s little question that name identification is no longer a problem for the Hoosier State governor.

  • Why This Scandal Won't Hurt Hillary By Larry J. Sabato

    Admit it: You love a juicy scandal. We claim to be high-minded and policy-oriented, but our noses are buried in the accounts of the latest political calamity -- and we read those stories before anything else.

    The Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy is just the latest entrée in a decades-long, calorie-rich menu provided by the former first lady and her husband. But will it make a difference in 2016?

  • 2016 PRESIDENT UPDATE: CLINTON ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE…YET By Geoffrey Skelley, Kyle Kondik, and Larry J. Sabato

    Hillary Clinton went before cameras and reporters at the United Nations last week to address the ongoing controversy over her use of a private email system during her time as secretary of state. She was terse, combative, and essentially told the American people to “trust her” when she says that she didn’t do anything wrong and isn’t hiding anything. Clinton’s visceral dislike of the media was obvious and can be summed up by three words (“Go to Hell”), which was how Politico ’s John Harris put it after Clinton’s presser.

  • A Major Reshuffling of the Republican Presidential Deck By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley

    For nearly two years we’ve been ranking the GOP presidential contenders, and we’ve only had two names in the No. 1 spot. Now, in our latest update, those two are together, and alone, at the top.

    The new first tier is Jeb Bush , the former governor of Florida, and Scott Walker , the governor of Wisconsin.

  • The New World Order By Larry J. Sabato

    Well, that didn’t last long! By that, we mean our pre-Christmas ordering of the GOP presidential field. We shouldn’t be surprised. Politics never takes a long holiday break anymore.

    First prize for early maneuvering goes to Jeb Bush. His unexpected, all-but-in announcement on Dec. 16 stunned his competitors and the political community. Bush didn’t just accelerate the entire process, including forthcoming announcements by rivals, but he also gained a leg up in conventional wisdom’s positioning.