For Sanders, New Hampshire was a Glass Both Half-Full and Half-Empty

The battle is breaking in his favor, even as his own performance has not been that strong

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- There are mixed signals from Bernie Sanders’ narrow victory in New Hampshire, but for now he's supplanted Joe Biden as a weak frontrunner for the nomination. -- Overall, though, the race remains very uncertain as the scene shifts to the more diverse states of...

How to Fix the Presidential Primary Process

Dear Readers: In his book A More Perfect Constitution, Crystal Ball Editor in Chief Larry J. Sabato laid out several proposals to modernize the Constitution. One of those was a suggestion about how to better format the presidential primary process, which has evolved over the course of the nation’s history...

The Iowa Chaos: A Preview of July?

Muddled, delayed, and confusing result could end up contributing to more of the same down the road

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- As of this writing, days after Iowa, the ultimate outcome there was still unclear. -- Joe Biden’s poor showing probably forecloses the possibility of him winning the nomination quickly. -- The odds of a rare, contested convention probably went up, although there’s still time...

Take Two: Can Sanders Broaden His Base?

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Unlike in 2016, Bernie Sanders has a real chance to win the Democratic presidential nomination. -- However, he likely will have to broaden his base of support to do so. -- Namely, better showings in big urban and suburban areas are important, particularly as...

Democrats’ Dilemma: Ideology, Electability, and the 2020 Presidential Nomination in Iowa and the Nation

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- The Democratic electorate has been getting more liberal, although at the same time, Democrats are not necessarily prioritizing ideology as they select a presidential nominee. -- Over time, both Democrats and Republicans have expressed increasingly negative views of the other party's presidential nominee. --...

Trump Not Immune to the Usual Down-Ballot Presidential Penalty

But the Senate remains a bright spot for Republicans amidst decline elsewhere

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- After just three years in the White House, Donald Trump is seeing a significant erosion of down-ballot seats held by his party. -- This erosion puts Trump in good company -- at least since World War II, presidents typically experience at least some erosion...

In the South, Congressional Black Caucus Members Win Uncommon Crossover

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Across the South, some members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) overperform the presidential lean of their districts. -- Incumbents like G.K. Butterfield (D, NC-1), Sanford Bishop (D, GA-2), and Jim Clyburn (D, SC-6) show that incumbents who fit their districts can build durable...

The Electoral College: Maine and Nebraska’s Crucial Battleground Votes

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Nationalization has pushed urban and rural areas apart; Maine and Nebraska are no exceptions to this trend, and their unique electoral vote allocation systems are highlighting that division. -- The Omaha-based NE-2 supported Republicans in the past two presidential elections, but by decreasing margins,...

Republican Edge in Electoral College Tie Endures

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- If no candidate gets to 270 Electoral College votes, the U.S. House of Representatives would pick the next president. -- The House has not had to pick a president in nearly two centuries. In the event of such a tiebreaking vote, each state’s U.S....

The 2016 Electoral College Map: A Template for 2020

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- In 2016, Hillary Clinton would have needed to flip 38 additional Electoral College votes to reach 270[1], thereby winning a majority in the Electoral College. -- Using 2016 presidential election results, we can map out the different paths that Clinton had to winning 270...

2019: The Year of Stability

Big events of the year, including impeachment, don’t materially change the odds in races for president, Congress

Dear Readers: The Crystal Ball will be away for the holidays next week. Our next issue will come out on Thursday, Jan. 2. We wish all of our readers Happy Holidays. -- The Editors KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Impeachment is an unusual occurrence marked by usual partisanship. It...

Wisconsin: 2020’s Ground Zero

A closer look at the state that may once again decide the presidency; GOP narrowly favored in NJ-2 following Van Drew party switch

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- A perpetual swing state, Wisconsin seems poised to play a pivotal role in next year’s presidential election. Milwaukee will be especially prominent as the host of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. -- With a special election in Wisconsin’s 7th District on the horizon, we...