Texas: Welcome to the Rodeo

A closer look at the biggest up-for-grabs state today

Dear Readers: We’re pleased to welcome two young analysts for their Crystal Ball debuts today as we publish a bonus issue that provides an additional preview of Super Tuesday (we also looked at the battlefield yesterday). First, Katherine Clement breaks down the Texas primary, and then Niles Francis assesses two...

Super Tuesday Down the Ballot: AL-SEN & CA-25

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- In Alabama, the three-way Republican primary for Senate will be one of Super Tuesday's marquee primaries; former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville are polling competitively, though Rep Bradley Byrne (R, AL-1) is also a serious candidate. -- Regardless...

The Sanders Tax

How our Electoral College ratings might change
if he becomes the presumptive nominee

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- If Democrats nominated Bernie Sanders, they would, initially, start off with somewhat of a penalty in our Electoral College ratings. -- Sanders’ policy prescriptions and rhetoric may complicate Democratic prospects in the Sun Belt, where the party’s recent growth has been driven by highly-educated...

Sanders and the Senate

Why his potential nomination makes some Democrats worry; the low-hanging fruit for both parties

Dear Readers: Tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 21), the University of Virginia Center for Politics will be hosting a conversation between former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato on the Grounds of UVA from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. While registration for the event...

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...

Markey vs. Kennedy: Welcome to the most unusual Senate primary in decades

Over the past quarter century, there hasn't been another Senate primary challenge quite like it

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is facing a strong primary challenge from Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D, MA-4) in 2020. While challenges to entrenched incumbent senators aren’t an everyday occurrence, the Markey-Kennedy race is especially unusual in recent Senate history -- Most senators who attract...

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...

Up-Ballot Effects: Expanding the Electoral College Battleground

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- A presidential campaign strategy narrowly focused on Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan might work for the Electoral College but could hurt a candidate’s party in down-ballot Senate and House races. -- Senate and House battlegrounds are scattered across the Rust Belt and Sun Belt, which...

The Senate: Ratings Changes and the Shadow of Impeachment

If there’s a trial in the upper chamber, who might feel the heat?

If there’s a trial in the upper chamber, who might feel the heat?

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Nationalization is an increasingly important trend in American election outcomes. It’s hard to think of a more nationalizing issue than a presidential impeachment. -- Vulnerable members on both sides in the Senate will have a lot to consider if and when they have to...

Notes on the State of Politics

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- The Democratic primary race has been very stable, with the biggest exception being Elizabeth Warren’s rise to become one of the clear frontrunners. -- Donald Trump is attracting primary challengers, but his standing within the GOP remains strong. -- Sen. Johnny Isakson's (R-GA) pending...

The End of the Filibuster May Loom

Neither side has a practical path to 60 Senate votes, which may imperil the practice

  Dear Readers: We’re pleased to offer a piece this week from Hunter Brown, an outstanding Center for Politics intern, on a topic of great importance: the Senate filibuster. Hunter finds that neither Democrats nor Republicans have much of a practical, short-term path to a 60-vote, filibuster-proof Senate majority. That...

The 2020 Congressional Elections: A Very Early Forecast

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- A forecasting model based on postwar electoral history along with the president's approval rating and the House generic ballot points to Democratic gains next fall. -- The model's projection won't be finalized until late next summer and will be based on whatever the president's...

Notes on the State of Politics

Farewell Ross Perot; Senate races on the fringe of the competitive map; the curious case of Justin Amash

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Ross Perot, who died earlier this week, provided something of a template for Donald Trump. He also was the best-performing third-party presidential candidate since Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. -- They are not top-tier races, but there have been noteworthy Senate developments on the outer...

Senate 2020: The Primary Challengers

No incumbents lost in 2014, 2016, or 2018. Who might be vulnerable in 2020?

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- The postwar renomination rate for Senate incumbents is 96%. That’s a little bit lower than the rate in the House. -- However, no senators have lost renomination in 13 of the last 19 elections. So recent history does not necessarily suggest that there will...