For the Historical Record

Historical statistics can sometimes tell us a great deal about tendencies in upcoming elections, often with eerie levels of accuracy. They also can be entertaining and provide an amusing coincidental context with which to frame the prospects of particular candidates. Below are two historical arguments for the general election winner;...

Herseth Wins South Dakota

With all 798 precincts reporting, Stephanie Herseth (D) has won the statewide U.S. House seat in South Dakota. Precisely as the Crystal Ball predicted, this race got close at the end and Herseth pulled out a narrow 51percent to 49 percent victory – a margin of 2,981 votes out of...

Kerry Can Win Virginia…But Will He?

The Kerry campaign recently stunned the national political community with its announcement that Kerry would seriously contest Virginia, which has not voted for a Democratic nominee since President Lyndon Johnson won a sizeable 53.5 percent in 1964. And then, sure enough, Kerry showed up in Portsmouth, Va., for Memorial Day....

George W. Bush as Harry S. Truman

He'd better be Truman if he wants to win...

The gloom among Republicans is deepening as President Bush falls behind Democratic nominee John F. Kerry by a small, but clearly perceptible, margin in many national and swing-state polls. This is, by our count, the fourth time the lead has changed hands since January. (Bush was up as the new...

Specter Almost Lives Up to His Name, Narrowly Avoids Political Death

Specter just barely squeaked it out. This is not particularly impressive – to say the least – for a 24-year Senate incumbent who had the strong support of the president, the other senator (a strong conservative), and just about everybody else. Plus, commentators were almost unanimous in saying that if...

The Three Predictors of the Presidency

There have been 26 presidential elections over the last hundred years. In exactly half of them (13), the incumbent president or incumbent president's party has had three or four net electoral "pluses" in its column (using the simple scale outlined above, taking all three election factors into account. Note that,...

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

The Crystal Ball is revealing its age with this headline, recalling a semi-forgettable 1960s-era film starring Spencer Tracy and Milton Berle. But no title better sums up the tumultuous foreign and domestic campaign world we face in 2004. Every political analyst is torn, trying to decide whether Iraq or 9/11...

The 2004 Lineup for Congress and Statehouses

The Crystal Ball has looked anew at the races for Senate, House, and Governor in '04. Not surprisingly, as the race for president has become very competitive, the Senate looks less like a slam-dunk for the Republicans. There are only a handful of real races, as usual, and presidential coattail...

Kerry’s Nader and Bush’s Nadir

What a difference a letter makes: E or I. John Kerry has to contend with Ralph Nader in November, and even in his diminished political state, it is possible that the longtime consumer advocate will make a difference in the election. Still, the Crystal Ball guesses that Nader will receive...

Veep Update! Best Kerry Choice is Evan Bayh

Take a look at the Crystal Ball's latest analysis of John Kerry's likely choices for vice president and the table of other possible Veeps. Look at our new Kerry Veep leader: Indiana U.S. Sen. and two-term Gov. Evan Bayh. Why? All the buzz today is about John Edwards filling out...

Conventional Wisdom Watch

Will this really be another squeaker election?

Understandably, everybody is convinced that the November election will be another squeaker like 2000. Maybe it will be -- but history suggests otherwise. The last time the United States had two extremely close presidential elections in a row was in the 1880s. In 1884, Grover Cleveland (D) defeated James G....

Super-Mega-National-All-Over-The-Map Tuesday

You have to go back to the Southern Super Tuesday of early March 1988 to find a primary day as BIG as this one, both in geographic spread and political impact. Only Georgia represents the South, while three behemoths dominate the voting: California, New York, and Ohio (the latter state...

Presidential Pool-itics:Swimming in the Veep End

Veep update...Veep update...Veep update...Veep update...

Your Crystal Ball started off the New Year by looking at possible Democratic vice presidential candidates. It's time for an update because much has changed, not least the fact that we have a better idea of the likely identity of the presidential nominee. Who can best help John Kerry, and...

Sabato’s Three Laws of Political Motion”

As Candidates Fall Faster than Newton's Apple

Now that John Kerry has won clear victories in Tennessee and Virginia, on top of his resounding triumphs over the weekend in Michigan, Washington State, and Maine, the junior U.S. senator from Massachusetts is the presidential nominee-presumptive of the Democratic Party. Yes, he could make a terrible gaffe, or there...