Government & Policy

Election outlook: Predictions from political analyst Larry Sabato

November 2, 2022

Election outlook: Predictions from political analyst Larry Sabato

Dr. Larry Sabato

Politcal Analyst & Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia

Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and Editor in Chief of Sabato’s Crystal Ball,…

Questions about the upcoming midterm elections? Our latest guest answers all of these and more! We were joined by political analyst, Larry Sabato, Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and Editor in Chief of Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

He and Willy discussed combating political discourse in our divided nation, his predictions for midterm elections, Twitter’s role in the political community, his thoughts on the 2024 race, and much more. 

With listeners awaiting news of the Fed’s next rate hike, Willy kicks off the episode with a macro view of current events: supply chains, job cuts, basis points, adjustments, the future of the office, and more.

As this overview turns to the upcoming midterm elections, he welcomes this episode’s guest: Dr. Larry Sabato—winner of four Emmy awards, author of over 20 books, and creator of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the non-partisan newsletter he publishes with the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, which he co-founded.

How do Larry and his colleagues rise above the fray and maintain a non-partisan position in today’s divided political climate?  Because they have a clear aim, Larry replies: Get more people involved in politics, and do so through predicting election results, not arguing. Do so by being a “voice for reality,” and pushing back on a climate that often treats facts as subjective.

He shares poll results that he says demonstrates “a stark lack of the unifying, sportsmanlike spirit that long characterized the American political system.” Out of 1,000 Trump supporters, 51% felt that blue states should secede from the Union.  Out of 1,000 Biden voters, 42% felt the same of red states.

If the current spirit of intense—and often reality-denying—division continues, our system is going downhill, Larry declares.

What about changing the way we vote? Willy wonders. Larry explains that while many people see the US system of running elections as antiquated, it actually works well in most states. But we sorely need education in basic civics, he says. Another change that could help: a return to paper ballots.  

What about incorporating a third party into the mainstream American system? Willy asks. This could, in theory, be helpful, Larry replies. But it is not a shift he expects to happen. 

“We’ve had some viable third party candidates over time, and eventually, conditions may align for one to be elected president,” he explains. “But because of how deeply entrenched the two-party system is in the structure of American politics and media, it would be incredibly difficult to shoehorn in another party.”

The conversation touches upon gerrymandering, recent redistricting efforts, open primaries, and ranked-choice voting before turning to the midterms. What will voter turnout look like? Which figures may or may not rise to prominence in their political parties—and who will win key gubernatorial and congressional races?

There’s discussion along the way about the current lack of split ticketing, “the intractable woes of campaign finance,” and the gridlock that happens when a president and a house of Congress aren’t aligned.  

And it’s not too early to start talking about 2024. What might Trump do in a second term as president? What factors weigh in his favor as candidate, and what role could Twitter play in this campaign?

Larry closes with a plea for the safety of elected officials and his predictions: Republicans take the House and the Senate in the midterms, and Governors Ron DeSantis and Gavin Newsom join Biden and Trump as people to watch in 2024. Beyond that, stay tuned!

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