Sabatos Crystal Ball

Archive for the ‘2008 President’ Category

Supremely Representative

Should the Nation's Highest Court Look Like America?

, Guest Columnist

The U.S. Constitution is utterly silent on qualifications for members of the federal judiciary. Theoretically, a justice does not even have to be a lawyer, but, in practice, all 110 justices in the Supreme Court’s 220-year history have been attorneys. With no constitutionally mandated selection criteria, presidents have been free to determine the standards by […]

Why Do We Talk About Judges This Way?

, Guest Columnist

Nobody in America believes the judicial confirmation system works. Not the senators who eat up precious questioning time with windy speeches about pet projects back home; not the interest groups who scour every sordid instant of a nominee’s background for evidence that they are unfit for the bench; and not the American public, whose experiences […]

The False Hope of Bipartisanship

It’s not a matter of “if.” It’s a matter of “when.” As in, when will all of the feel-good rhetoric about Democrats and Republicans joining hands to solve the nation’s problems come to an end and open partisan warfare resume in Washington? In fact, that time may already be here. Despite Barack Obama’s efforts to […]

Playing it Straight

The Minnesota Model of Election Administration

, Director, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey Institute, University of Minnesota

Did the Wall Street Meltdown Change the Election?

A Reply to James Campbell

Editor’s Note: Several weeks ago, the Crystal Ball published a 2008 election analysis by Prof. Larry Sabato, which concluded in part that Democrats were destined to win the presidential election, given prevailing conditions. Then Prof. Jim Campbell of The University at Buffalo took issue with that conclusion, arguing that the mid-September financial meltdown had derailed […]


, Senior Columnist

The 2008 election these days may seem long ago and far away. But it is worth remembering that while the Republicans had a bad time at the polls in November, they fared well in the array of contests that concluded the election cycle in December. The GOP scored two House wins last month in Louisiana, […]

The 2008 Election in Perspective

The Unexpected Wall Street Meltdown Election

, Professor and Chair, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Some political analysts have interpreted the 2008 presidential election as an ordinary retrospective election. With a very unpopular Republican incumbent presiding over unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a weak economy, 2008 appeared to be a Democratic year. As the often insightful Larry Sabato put it in his recent essay, “any mainstream Democratic candidate […]


Questions and Answers About Obama's First Year

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Almost every American recognizes January 20, 2009 as a red-letter date in U.S. history. No one who witnessed the swearing-in of President Barack Obama will ever forget it, and rarely has so much emotion been wrapped up in an inauguration. The good feelings that have been generated cannot hurt at a time when the country […]

The 2008 Election in Perspective: Just What We Would Have Expected

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book, The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House. The book, which features several frequent Crystal Ball contributors as well as other journalists and scholars, will be published by Pearson Longman in March 2009. –The Editors Some readers will be very surprised by our […]


How Will Obama Measure Up?

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Rituals matter in any society, but in a democracy they are especially significant. Most authoritarian regimes are stable for long periods of time; the barrel of a gun ensures it. Democratic societies can change rapidly with public opinion, and a new administration is frequently the polar opposite of its predecessor. How best to balance the […]


2008 in Perspective

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

We have reached the end of another election cycle, but this has been no ordinary campaign. The marathon of presidential politics was everyone’s focus, and the unforgettable cast of characters was long, from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side to John McCain and Sarah Palin on the Republican. These people were fascinating, […]


Senate Aftermath of 2008 Continues

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Decades ago, a merry band of pranksters took to the streets of a state’s capital city a few days after an election for governor. Riding in the van of a defeated candidate, the vehicle still much decorated with the slogans and banners of the electorally deceased nominee, the newly unemployed campaign workers took turns on […]


This article is republished courtesy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

As routine as elections may seem, they are the seminal events in the life of a democracy. Campaigns and elections not only set the direction of the Republic, they also shed light on America’s political health. Every November we have the opportunity to take stock of what we did at the polls, and what that […]


, Director of Communications, U.Va. Center for Politics

Here’s the worst kept secret in politics: Presidential campaigning never ends. For periods of time it becomes quieter–a little subtler–but it never stops. Every morning 100 senators, 50 governors, quite a few grandees in the House of Representatives, and an assortment of corporate titans all hear their Rice Krispies shouting “2012!” “FORM A PRESIDENTIAL EXPLORATORY […]


, Senior Columnist

Every day since Nov. 4, the scope of Democrat Barack Obama’s victory has grown more impressive. His electoral vote total of 364 is the highest for any presidential winner since Bill Clinton’s reelection in 1996. His 53 percent share of the total popular vote is the largest since George H.W. Bush won a comparable proportion […]