Larry Sabato

Larry Sabato

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Larry Sabato'
Start a new discussion about 'Larry Sabato'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Larry Joseph Sabato is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 political scientist and analyst. He is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

, and director of its Center for Politics
University of Virginia Center for Politics
The University of Virginia Center for Politics was founded in 1998 by professor and political analyst Larry J. Sabato to put into practice his belief that "Politics is a good thing!" The Center for Politics is a nonpartisan organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, which seeks to increase...

. He founded Sabato's Crystal Ball
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...

, an online newsletter and website that provides free political analysis and electoral projections. He has been called "the most-quoted college professor in the land" and a "pundit with an opinion for every reporter’s phone call."

Early life and education


Sabato grew up in Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

, graduating from Norfolk Catholic High School
Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School
Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School is a Roman Catholic secondary school in Virginia Beach, Virginia, founded as Norfolk Catholic High School in 1950 and moved to Virginia Beach in 1993...

 in 1970. Four years later, he graduated from the University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

. A 1974 Cavalier Daily poll showed more people could identify Sabato as student government president than could name Edgar F. Shannon, Jr.
Edgar F. Shannon, Jr.
Edgar F. Shannon, Jr. was a professor of English and president of the University of Virginia from 1959 to 1974.-Biography:...

 as University president. Sabato graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in government. He followed his undergraduate degree with graduate study at Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs is a professional public policy school at Princeton University. The school has granted undergraduate A.B. degrees since 1930 and graduate degrees since 1948...

 for one year. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship
Rhodes Scholarship
The Rhodes Scholarship, named after Cecil Rhodes, is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford. It was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships, and is widely considered the "world's most prestigious scholarship" by many public sources such as...

 in 1975, which brought him to study at Queen's College
The Queen's College, Oxford
The Queen's College, founded 1341, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Queen's is centrally situated on the High Street, and is renowned for its 18th-century architecture...

 at Oxford University. In less than two years he earned his doctorate in politics from Oxford.

Prior to his time as a political analyst, Sabato worked for nine years with Virginia Democratic politician Henry Howell
Henry Howell
Henry Evans Howell, Jr. , nicknamed "Howlin'" Henry Howell, was an American politician from the U.S. state of Virginia...

. At the age of 15, Sabato joined Howell's first campaign for the Virginia governorship in 1968, and then worked on his successful run for lieutenant governor in 1971, and his campaigns for governor in 1973 and 1977.

Professorship


Before becoming an academician at the University of Virginia, Sabato had already established a reputation as a published expert on the rise of two-party politics in the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, particularly with his 1977 publication of The Democratic Party Primary in Virginia: Tantamount to Election No Longer. See also Solid South
Solid South
Solid South is the electoral support of the Southern United States for the Democratic Party candidates for nearly a century from 1877, the end of Reconstruction, to 1964, during the middle of the Civil Rights era....

 and tantamount to election
Tantamount to election
"Tantamount to election" is a phrase to describe a situation in which one political party so dominates the demographics of a voting district, that the person winning the party nomination for a race will virtually be assured of winning the general election...

.

In 1978, Sabato became a member of the faculty at the University of Virginia. Sabato has engaged in 30 years of research and taught more than 14,000 students.

He is a University Professor and the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia.

In 2005, Sabato made a $1 million contribution to UVA, the largest gift ever given by a faculty member.

Author


Sabato has authored over twenty books on politics; his best-known volumes include Feeding Frenzy: Attack Journalism and American Politics and The Rise of Political Consultants: New Ways of Winning Elections. His most recent book, released in January 2011, is Pendulum Swing, which analyzes the 2010 midterm elections and explores how the Republican victories could affect the 2012 presidential, congressional, and state-level elections.

Prior to Pendulum Swing, Sabato authored The Year of Obama in 2009 and A More Perfect Constitution
A More Perfect Constitution
A More Perfect Constitution is a non-fiction book by American political scientist Larry J. Sabato, published in 2007. In it, Sabato calls for a new constitutional convention to update the United States Constitution....

in 2007, which discussed his ideas for amending the U.S. Constitution. Other Sabato books include The Sixth Year Itch: The Rise and Fall of the George W. Bush Presidency, Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election, and Get in the Booth! A Citizen's Guide to the 2004 Election. He also issues a political newsletter, Sabato's Crystal Ball
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...

. He has written textbooks used by high school and college American government classes. He has been a frequent guest analyst on cable news outlets as well as radio programs.

He is currently writing a book with the working title The Kennedy Half-Century
The Kennedy Half-Century
The Kennedy Half-Century is a non-fiction book by American political scientist Larry J. Sabato, to be published in 2013 by Walker & Company. The book's focus is John F. Kennedy, spanning his life, presidential administration, and assassination. The book will include new polling by Democratic...

: The Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy.
The book is scheduled to be published by Walker & Company in 2013. It will focus on John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

's life, administration, and assassination
John F. Kennedy assassination
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

 and will contain focus groups, polling, and interviews with key players and eyewitnesses.

Sabato's Crystal Ball


Sabato's Crystal Ball
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...

is run by the University of Virginia Center for Politics
University of Virginia Center for Politics
The University of Virginia Center for Politics was founded in 1998 by professor and political analyst Larry J. Sabato to put into practice his belief that "Politics is a good thing!" The Center for Politics is a nonpartisan organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, which seeks to increase...

 in Charlottesville. The site contains up-to-date analysis of an array of political races around the United States. It developed from an effort to inform and motivate the nation's citizens about the political process. It follows presidential elections, as well as each Senate, House, and gubernatorial contest. The Crystal Ball is a free public service intended to interest both the average voter and political junkies.

Predictions


Prior to the 2002 midterm elections, where the Republican Party saw gains in both branches of Congress, Sabato's Crystal Ball website accurately predicted the outcome in 433 of the 435 contests for the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and 32 of 34 Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 races.

In 2004, which saw Republicans retain the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

 and gain seats in the House and Senate, Crystal Ball correctly predicted the outcome of 525 of the 530 political races (99% accuracy), missing only one House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 race, one Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 race, one governor's race and two states in the Electoral College.

In August 2006, Crystal Ball predicted that the Democrats would gain 29 seats in the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and 6 seats in the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, providing them with a majority in both chambers. Sabato's predictions proved correct: each of his 33 Senate predictions were accurate, and in the House, Democrats gained 29 seats on election night, the precise total predicted by the Crystal Ball (Democrats would go on to pick up a 30th seat in the December 12, 2006 run-off in Texas' 23rd district).

In July 2008, Crystal Ball correctly projected that Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 would win the presidency in a near-landslide. Sabato predicted a 364-174 margin in the Electoral College, as well as the popular vote percentages. The prediction was merely one point off the mark, with the actual result on November 4, 2008 being Obama 365 and McCain 173. Crystal Ball also accurately predicted 100% of all 35 Senate races, and 11 gubernatorial races correctly.

In 2006 Sabato was named the most accurate prognosticator by FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC, and Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism. In 2006, Sabato was the only national analyst who correctly predicted the exact Democratic gains in Senate and House contests.

Notoriety from extensive quoting


The extensive use of Sabato as a "Dr. Dial-a-Quote" has been noted in political media circles and attributed to his easy quotability and ability to offer pronouncements on a wide variety of topics. The Wall Street Journal refers to Sabato as "probably the most quoted college professor in the land" and some members of the news media have a rhyme referring to Sabato's availability for a quick quip on politics: "Need a quote/Do not tarry/Call U-Va./And ask for Larry."

The number of times he has been quoted annually has risen dramatically over the years: 78 times in 1992; 122 times in 1996; 179 in 2000; and 344 times in 2004. A 1996 New Republic
The New Republic
The magazine has also published two articles concerning income inequality, largely criticizing conservative economists for their attempts to deny the existence or negative effect increasing income inequality is having on the United States...

 article found that over the course of just one month, Sabato had been quoted as an expert on a large range of political topics: "Perot's
Ross Perot
Henry Ross Perot is a U.S. businessman best known for running for President of the United States in 1992 and 1996. Perot founded Electronic Data Systems in 1962, sold the company to General Motors in 1984, and founded Perot Systems in 1988...

 exclusion from the debates, Clinton's
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 policy toward Iraq, Whitewater
Whitewater controversy
The Whitewater controversy was an American politics controversy that began with the real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim and Susan McDougal in the Whitewater Development Corporation, a failed business venture in the 1970s and 1980s.A New York...

, Dole's
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

 attitude toward pot-smoking, Dick Morris
Dick Morris
Dick Morris is an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant....

, negative ads, (and) the continued relevance of political parties."

His ability to speak on a wide range of topics had led to a similarly wide range of titles for Sabato, including: "an expert on political scandals" in an article about misdeeds in the Ohio GOP, a "congressional expert" when writing about a congressional election, an "expert on presidential affairs" when writing about a presidential visit, and "an expert in opinion and opinion making" when discussing Katie Couric
Katie Couric
Katherine Anne "Katie" Couric is an American journalist and author. She serves as Special Correspondent for ABC News, contributing to ABC World News, Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America, This Week and primetime news specials...

's declining ratings.

Earmark controversy


In June 2009, it was revealed that Sabato's Center for Politics
University of Virginia Center for Politics
The University of Virginia Center for Politics was founded in 1998 by professor and political analyst Larry J. Sabato to put into practice his belief that "Politics is a good thing!" The Center for Politics is a nonpartisan organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia, which seeks to increase...

 had been the recipient of over seven million dollars in earmark money from Congressman Virgil Goode
Virgil Goode
Virgil Hamlin Goode, Jr. , is an American politician, last serving as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives. He represented the 5th congressional district of Virginia from 1997 to 2009...

, whom Sabato predicted would win re-election in 2008, despite declining poll numbers; Goode ultimately lost the race by fewer than 800 votes out of about 316,000 votes cast. Some observers have suggested that Sabato should have revealed his financial connection to Goode or recused himself from making predictions about the race.

External links