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Commentary by Larry J. Sabato

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October 2, 2008

Senate Sensibilities - The October 2008 Update By Larry J. Sabato

There are a few changes to report in the nation's Senate races since we last reviewed them in July-almost all of them in favor of the Democratic candidates. Yet the fundamental outlook hasn't changed terribly much. The Democrats will pick up a fair number of seats to pad their slim 51-to-49 margin. They are defending a mere 12 seats, and all their incumbents are running again. The Republicans have drawn the short straw, trying to protect 23 seats with five incumbents retiring in a tough political environment for the GOP.

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September 18, 2008

Meet the New Map--Same as the Old Map (Almost) By Larry Sabato

In early summer, the Crystal Ball took its first look at the likely November 4th Electoral College map. Our assessment was that, in the College at least, the contest appeared close. John McCain had 174 solid or likely electoral votes to Barack Obama's 200 solid or likely. The lead switched once we added in states that were "leaning" to one or the other: McCain had 227 votes to Obama's 212, with 270 needed for election. Fully 99 electoral votes in eight other states (CO, MI, NH, NV, OH, PA, VA, and WI) remained in the toss-up category.

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September 3, 2008

What an Election! By Larry Sabato

Two tickets full of history, one headed by the first African-American in position to become president, the other with a woman situated to become the nation's first female vice president.

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August 20, 2008

How the Convention Ball Bounces By Larry Sabato

Forget the Olympics. Political junkies are in the convention pre-season. As we approach the Democratic National Convention on August 25 to 28 and the Republican National Convention on September 1 to 4, analysts just want to know one thing: How big are the bounces?

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August 7, 2008

The Other "House" Elections: Statehouses '08 By Larry J. Sabato

Leave the presidential contest aside for the moment. At other levels of politics, the Republicans may eventually file the 2008 campaign under the Double Jeopardy category of "It Just Keeps Getting Worse". Surely, GOP House strategists are asking themselves whether they are cursed this year.

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July 31, 2008

Alaska Senate Update By Larry Sabato

It looks like a clean sweep for Alaska in the Senate and House. Both of the Republican incumbents, Sen. Ted Stevens, in office since 1968, and Rep. Don Young, who has held his seat since 1973, appear to be going down to defeat.

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July 29, 2008

Vice President Tim Kaine? By Larry Sabato

We have no earthly idea if Virginia Governor Tim Kaine is Obama's choice for Vice President. All we know is that distinguished reporters who claim to have good sources are calling and saying that Kaine is on the short-short list.

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July 11, 2008

Time to Change the Unit Rule By Larry Sabato

Want to fix an election? No, I'm not proposing any Election Day shenanigans, but rather some preventive maintenance for a very old machine.

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July 10, 2008

The Map By Larry Sabato

Nobody now knows the exact contours of the November 4th Electoral College map. Nobody will know it until after the polls have closed. But except for the guessing game about the vice presidential nominations, there's no greater fun to be had in July.

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June 12, 2008

Congressional Combat, Continued By Larry J. Sabato

Last December, when we first sketched out the upcoming House elections , we suggested that Democrats were likely to have a good year. Nothing has changed our forecast in the six months since, and if anything, we now see November 2008 as probably the best year Democrats have had in many a moon.

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May 1, 2008

Old Math, New Math, and the Dispute Over the "Popular Vote" By Larry Sabato

Give Hillary Clinton credit. She has shown toughness, stamina, and persistence in one of the longest presidential campaigns in American history.

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March 27, 2008

The Lash of Unfair Criticism By Larry Sabato

John F. Kennedy was correct about life and politics when he famously said, "Life isn't fair." Not only is politics unfair, it may be the least fair part of life. In many election years, if we had blue-ribbon selection panels charged with considering only the qualifications and likely performance of potential presidents, governors, and senators, the list of winners would likely be quite different from the ones actually elected by the voters.

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March 20, 2008

The Crapshoot of Presidential Politics By Larry Sabato

This week's detour into the murk of racial politics underlines that it's going to be a long, hard slog on the Democratic side.

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March 14, 2008

The Democratic Dogfight: By Larry Sabato

When 2008 began, it was impossible to find a nonpartisan analyst who did not project a big year for the Democrats. George W. Bush barely scaled 30 percent in the polls, the Iraq War was deeply unpopular and the economy was weakening.

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February 28, 2008

Veep! Veep! The McCain Possibilities: A Commentary by Larry J. Sabato

Almost a year ago, the Crystal Ball took a first crack at listing the vice presidential possibilities in both parties.

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January 24, 2008

The Race for President: The Finalists Emerge: A Commentary by Larry J. Sabato

Now that Iowa, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada, and South Carolina have voted, at least in one party, one thing is perfectly clear: While the identities of the two major-party nominees are not yet certain, the ranks on both sides have thinned dramatically and the finalists have emerged.

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January 10, 2008

Clinton as Truman, McCain as Lazarus, Obama-Mania, Hucka-boom or Bush, and the Presidential Players: A Commentary By Larry J. Sabato

First, we at the Crystal Ball want to get one thing straight with our readers. We are for change. We have worked for change our whole lives.

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January 3, 2008

All Eyes on the Hawkeye State: A Commentary by Larry Sabato

If you're from Iowa, maybe you should just stop reading right now. I don't want to spoil your big day. I have nothing against the Hawkeye State.

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December 20, 2007

Congressional Combat: A Commentary by Larry J. Sabato

Truly important election years for the U.S. House of Representatives come around only every so often-years when party control is at stake and the House actually changes hands or the balance of power is significantly altered one way or the other.

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December 13, 2007

Senate Sensibilities--A Second Democratic Year in '08?: An Overview by Larry J. Sabato

Look at recent history. The Senate has changed party control six times: in 1980 (D to R), 1986 (R to D), 1994 (D to R), 2001 (R to D), 2002 (D to R), and 2006 (R to D).