Sabato's Crystal Ball

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Sabato's Crystal Ball
Sabato's Crystal Ball Logo.gif
Type Weekly newsletter
Format Newsletter
Publisher University of Virginia Center for Politics
Editor Larry Sabato
Founded 2002
Political alignment Nonpartisan
Headquarters Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Circulation 12,000
Official website Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball

Sabato's Crystal Ball is a free, nonpartisan weekly online newsletter and comprehensive website in the United States that analyzes the current American political scene and predicts electoral outcomes for U.S House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, governors, and U.S. president races. A publication of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, the Crystal Ball was founded by political analyst Larry Sabato, the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia.

Over the past decade, the Crystal Ball has garnered a reputation for fair analysis and accurate predictions and is frequently cited by journalists and other political watchers. In addition, unlike many other analysts, Crystal Ball predicts every race by the morning of election day, as opposed to only predicting the races with a clear leader and declaring the others unpredictable. This allows for a full projection of the election's most likely outcome, rather than simply a list of races to pay attention to. [1]

History[edit]

2002[edit]

The Crystal Ball was first launched in September 2002, evolving from pre-election presentations given by founder Larry J. Sabato.[2] For the 2002 midterm elections, the Crystal Ball tracked every U.S. Senate and gubernatorial race and the top 50 U.S. House of Representatives races. In 2002, the website received 160,000 hits, averaging over 5,000 hits per day over the last three weeks of the campaign. In addition, over 1,500 people subscribed to its weekly e-mail updates.[2]

In the end, the Crystal Ball correctly predicted 433 of the 435 U.S. House races with an average rate of 99.6%, 32 of the 34 U.S. Senate races with an average rate of 94%, and 32 of the 36 governor’s races with an average rate of 88%.[citation needed]

2004[edit]

Following a post-election hiatus, the Crystal Ball re-launched on January 27, 2003 with an eye towards the 2004 election cycle.[2] In addition to continuing its e-mail newsletter and website analysis, the Crystal Ball sent correspondents to both the Democratic National Convention in Boston and the Republican National Convention in New York City. On Election Day, the Crystal Ball correctly predicted 434 of the 435 U.S. House races (99.7%), 33 of 34 U.S. Senate races (97%), 10 of 11 governor’s races (91%), and 48 of 50 states in the presidential Electoral College (96%).[3]

2006[edit]

During the 2006 election cycle the Crystal Ball added House Race Editor Dave Wasserman and expanded its election coverage and analysis. The Crystal Ball predicted a 29 seat pick-up for Democrats in the House and 6 seat pick-up in the Senate, both of which were exactly right.[4]

Race by race, the Crystal Ball correctly predicted 417 of 435 U.S. House races (96%), 33 of 33 U.S. Senate races (100%), and 35 of 36 gubernatorial races (97%).[citation needed]

2008[edit]

In August 2007, the Crystal Ball added respected political analyst and author Rhodes Cook to its team, a veteran of Congressional Quarterly and editor of the America Votes series.[5] Also in 2007, House Race Editor Dave Wasserman left to assume that same position at the Cook Political Report and was replaced by Isaac Wood.

In July 2008, when many analysts were predicting a tight race for President, the Crystal Ball published an essay which correctly projected that Barack Obama would win in a near-landslide.[6]

In the elections of November 2008, the Crystal Ball correctly predicted 421 of 435 U.S. House races (97%), 34 of 35 U.S. Senate races (97%), and 11 of 11 gubernatorial races (100%). In the presidential election, the Crystal Ball predicted an Electoral College victory of 364 to 174 for Democrat Barack Obama, a total which was just one vote off of the final tally.[7][8]

2010[edit]

The 2010 elections marked the fifth federal election cycle in which the Crystal Ball has been published.

In November 2010, Crystal Ball projected that Republicans would pick up 55 seats in the House of Representatives.[9] The Republicans picked up 63 House seats. It predicted a pickup of 8 seats in the Senate for Republicans.[10] The Republicans picked up 6 Senate seats.[11]

2012[edit]

In 2012, Crystal Ball projected that Obama would win the presidency 290 electoral votes to 248 for Romney; there would no change in composition of the Senate with Democrats at 53 and Republicans at 47; and Democrats would pick up 3 seats in the House of Representatives making it 239 Republicans and 196 Democrats.[12]

Recognition[edit]

In 2006, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism rated the Crystal Ball as the most accurate of all pre-election predictors.[1] In addition, anchors of MSNBC, Fox News, and CNBC all praised its accuracy.[13] Over the years, many journalists and political watchers have recognized the Crystal Ball for its singular record of accuracy, including Fred Barnes, Lester Holt, Steve Doocy, Larry Kudlow, Carl Cameron, Ed Chen of the Los Angeles Times, and Will Vehrs of Punditwatch.[2][4]

Contributors[edit]

Over the Crystal Ball’s history, it has published articles from staff members and a variety of well-known guest columnists, including:[14][15]

Guest columnists[edit]

Staff contributors[edit]

Current staff[edit]

  • Alan Abramowitz – Senior Columnist for the Crystal Ball and Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at Emory University[16]
  • Rhodes Cook – Senior Columnist for the Crystal Ball and author[17]
  • Kyle Kondik – House Race Editor[18]
  • Larry Sabato – Founder of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia[19]
  • Geoffrey Skelley – Political Analyst[18]

Former staff[edit]

  • Michael Baudinet – Former Executive Assistant to Larry Sabato
  • Cordel Faulk – Former Director of Communications, Media and Research for the University of Virginia Center for Politics
  • Joseph Figueroa – Former Executive Assistant to Larry Sabato
  • Rakesh Gopalan – Former Senior Editor and Research Analyst for the University of Virginia Center for Politics
  • Peter Jackson – Former Deputy Director of Communications for the University of Virginia Center for Politics
  • Dan Keyserling – Former Deputy Director of Communications for the University of Virginia Center for Politics
  • Matt Smyth – Former Senior Editor and Director of Communications for the University of Virginia Center for Politics
  • David Wasserman – Former House Race Editor for the Crystal Ball and current House Editor for the Cook Political Report
  • Paul Wiley – Former staff writer
  • Isaac Wood – Former House Race Editor for the Crystal Ball

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Election Pundits...Who Got Closest?". Project for Excellence in Journalism, Pew Research Center. November 13, 2006. 
  2. ^ a b c d "ELECTION 2002: How the CB fared..." (PDF). University of Virginia Center for Politics. 
  3. ^ "A Look Back, A Look Forward". University of Virginia Center for Politics. November 9, 2004. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b "News Networks Recognize Success of 'Sabato's Crystal Ball'". UVA Today (University of Virginia). November 10, 2006. 
  5. ^ "'Sabato's Crystal Ball' Adds Analyst and Author Rhodes Cook". University of Virginia Center for Politics. August 9, 2007. 
  6. ^ "The Myth of a Toss-Up Election". July 24, 2008. [dead link]
  7. ^ "The Last Last Word". November 3, 2008. [dead link]
  8. ^ "The Election Without End". November 6, 2008. [dead link]
  9. ^ 2010 Election Special November 1, 2012
  10. ^ Election Eve Special November 1, 2010
  11. ^ GOP picks up Senate seats but falls short of majority November 3, 2010
  12. ^ Projection: Obama Will Likely Win Second Term
  13. ^ "Dear Friends". November 21, 2006. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Past Columns". University of Virginia Center for Politics. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Staff". University of Virginia Center for Politics. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Staff, Center for Politics". U.Va. Center for Politics. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  17. ^ "Staff, Center for Politics". U.Va. Center for Politics. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "About the Crystal Ball". U.Va. Center for Politics. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "Staff, Center for Politics". U.Va. Center for Politics. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 

External links[edit]