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Sabato’s Crystal Ball

An Electoral College Time Capsule

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The six presidential elections held during the 25-year history of the Center for Politics were often close, although most states voted predictably. As part of a time capsule we are putting together to be opened at the center’s 50th anniversary in 2049, we are asking our future students to consider what has changed and what has stayed the same. Had we done the same exercise when the center was founded 25 years ago, we would have seen an Electoral College alignment from 1976-1996 that looked a lot different than what we’ve become familiar with this century.

Kyle Kondik

Making Sense of Arizona’s New Electoral Landscape

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Yesterday in Arizona, the state Supreme Court gave the green light to a strict, 1860s-era law that bans abortion in nearly all cases. Democrats may be poised to ride the backlash in this swing state, as some local Republicans are trying to distance themselves from the ruling. Meanwhile, the Nebraska legislature's debate over its electoral vote allocation could further elevate Arizona's importance in the Electoral College.

J. Miles Coleman

A Lieberman 2006 Repeat in 2024?

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Last week, former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, a sitting Democratic senator who won reelection in 2006 as an independent following a primary loss, passed away. Some sitting senators up this year have similarly considered running without a major party label. These members include West Virginia's Joe Manchin (D) and New Jersey's Bob Menendez (D), although neither would be favorites if they took the plunge.

J. Miles Coleman

Notes on the State of Politics: March 28, 2024

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In this week’s edition of Notes on the State of Politics, we are extending an invite to several events the Center for Politics is holding next week (April 5-6) as part of our 25th Anniversary Gala, as well as looking at the growing number of vacancies in the House, a Democratic retirement in New Hampshire, and a notable special state House election in Alabama.

Kyle Kondik

Black Voters and the 2024 Presidential Election: A Breakthrough for Trump?

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Part of former President Trump's relatively strong polling against President Biden in both national and state polls is surprisingly robust support from Black voters. However, the Black vote has been overwhelmingly Democratic in presidential elections for more than a half century, and there has been little sign of major improvement for Republicans in recent elections.

Alan I. Abramowitz

In Key Ohio Senate Primary, Republicans Go with Trump Again

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We take a look at the ultimately not-close Ohio Republican Senate primary and other key results from the down-ballot primaries there and in Illinois. Right before the 2022 Ohio Senate primary, we asked a trusted source about rumblings that state Sen. Matt Dolan (R) was making a late charge in that race. This person’s response to the Dolan hype: “Just wishful thinking on part of moderate Rs in media.” Two years later, and the quote still applies.

Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

The Republican Veepstakes 2024, Part Two: What History Suggests About Trump’s Options

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Although many factors affect the pool of available vice presidential candidates, the two primary filters relate to party identification and past governmental experience. In particular, major party presidential nominees invariably choose a running mate who shares their party identification and who presently holds or previously held a small group of high governmental offices signifying political experience. These are discussed below in turn.

Joel K. Goldstein

Notes on the State of Politics: March 13, 2024

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In this week’s edition of Notes on the State of Politics, we’re looking down the ballot—both at the overall House map now that redistricting is likely done, and at some important primaries coming up in the Midwest next week, highlighted by the Republican Senate primary in Ohio.

Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

The Republican Veepstakes, Part One: Picking an Apprentice, Donald Trump’s Way

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Following Super Tuesday and with both President Biden and former President Trump effectively set to be their respective party’s presidential nominee, we thought it was a good time to look ahead to one of the big political questions of the next several months: Who will Trump pick as his running mate? There is no one better to analyze Trump’s vice presidential choice than Joel Goldstein, a longtime Crystal Ball contributor and a leading expert on the presidential ticket’s second slot. In Part One of a two-part series, Joel goes over how the selection process has evolved, the early movement in this year’s GOP Veepstakes, and the lessons we may be able to draw from Trump’s selection of Mike Pence.

Joel K. Goldstein

Running Out the Clock When Time is of the Essence

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Donald J. Trump, who has effectively wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination, faces 91 felony counts and is charged with numerous crimes ranging from allegations that he tried to subvert elections, illegally hoarded classified documents, and falsified business records with a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. In this article, we provide an update on where the trials stand, what we know about public opinion, and the implications for the 2024 presidential election.

Carah Ong Whaley

What Stood Out from Super Tuesday

It turns out that the 2024 presidential primary process will not be historic, at least in this sense: Nikki Haley’s victory in the Washington, D.C. primary over the weekend and then Vermont on Tuesday foreclosed the possibility of both Joe Biden and Donald Trump each sweeping every nominating contest this year, something that has not happened in the modern era.

Kyle Kondik

The Postwar History of Senate/Presidential Ticket-Splitting, Part Two

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This week, we’ll continue our look at the history of postwar split-ticket outcomes between presidential and Senate races. Last week, in Part One, we examined the years spanning from 1948 to 1980. Now, we’ll start with 1984, the year that then-President Ronald Reagan was easily reelected, and go up to 2020, when now-former President Donald Trump was not as successful in his reelection bid.

J. Miles Coleman

Notes on the State of Politics: Feb. 28, 2024

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In the days leading up to the Michigan presidential primary, we must admit to being taken a bit aback at the immense coverage the Democratic contest received. Given all that coverage, we probably don’t need to spend much time setting the scene—some prominent state Democrats and local Arab-American leaders backed a protest “Uncommitted” vote against President Biden in response to his support for Israel in its campaign in Gaza following a Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7. The ongoing conflict has been a political problem for Democrats because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict splits the Democrats in a way that it doesn’t split the Republicans.

Kyle Kondik

The Postwar History of Senate/Presidential Ticket-Splitting, Part One

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In order to hold their Senate majority, Democrats are almost certainly going to have to win at least two and maybe more states that Republicans win at the presidential level. With a current 51-49 majority (including independents), Democrats are already set to lose an open seat in West Virginia, a state Republicans will win at the presidential level in a landslide, and they are defending Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jon Tester (D-MT) in states that also should vote Republican for president.

J. Miles Coleman

Notes on the State of the Senate

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Last week, on what could have been a slow Friday in the political world, the nation’s attention turned to Maryland. On the final day of candidate filing, now-former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) entered his state’s open-seat Senate race. Though Maryland is one of the bluest states—it was Donald Trump’s third-worst state in 2020—Hogan, in office, routinely ranked among the most popular governors in the country, often sporting positive approval ratings with Democrats.

J. Miles Coleman

Big NY-3 Win Brings Democrats Ever Closer in the House

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Rep.-elect Tom Suozzi’s (D) impressive victory in NY-3 should, like all special elections, be kept in context: Special elections can be influenced by unique local factors, and they are often not predictive of the future. Democrats have been doing well in these races, generally speaking, since the Dobbs decision in 2022, and a much bigger November electorate will be different and quite possibly less friendly.

Kyle Kondik

The Race for the House, Part Two

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Following last week’s release of 2023’s fourth quarter campaign fundraising reports, we thought this was a good time to go through our House ratings and make a few revisions. The changes don’t alter the overall House rating math all that much: currently, we have 212 districts rated as Safe, Likely, or Leans Republican, 203 as Safe/Likely/Leans Democratic, and 20 Toss-ups. Splitting the Toss-ups down the middle would lead to… a 222-213 Republican House, or exactly zero net change from what happened in 2022. So Republicans are a little bit ahead in the ratings, but we’d classify the overall battle for the House as a Toss-up.

Kyle Kondik

The Race for the House, Part One

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With Donald Trump appearing well on his way to a third straight Republican presidential nomination, his lone remaining major rival, Nikki Haley, is arguing that he would not just lose the presidential election, but also oversee a Republican defeat down the ballot, including in the race for control of the U.S. House of Representatives. This question—whether Trump would cost Republicans in down-ballot races—is one that was on the minds of many in both 2016 and 2020, when Trump, respectively, won and then lost competitive presidential races. And it’s on our minds now as we survey the House battlefield.

Kyle Kondik

A Deeper Dig into the Granite

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After looking ahead to the New Hampshire primary for months on end, it can be easy to just quickly move on after it happens. But it may be that the New Hampshire primary ends up being the most competitive presidential nominating contest on either side this year, and we thought it merited taking a closer look at what happened after the dust settled. What follows is an analysis of Nikki Haley, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden’s performances in New Hampshire, a look at the turnout, and some thoughts on the ongoing dispute between New Hampshire and national Democrats over the presidential nominating calendar

J. Miles Coleman and Kyle Kondik