Someone forwarded to me today the latest edition of University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato's "Crystal Ball" newsletter, more on which can be found here. I may have to become a subscriber. I have read several of his books, but he writes them faster than I can read them.
As I have said before, I was a student in Larry Sabato's "Campaigns and Elections" in the summer of 1985. If it had been during the regular school year, I would not have gotten in, because the class was supposed to be for politically-active people. That same summer Larry made his famous prediction that Doug Wilder would not be elected lieutenant governor, as described in this book. My big project for that class was to write a paper on the 1984 campaign of Congressman Rick Boucher, whose opponent was Jeff Stafford, a lawyer from Giles County. In 1984, Boucher was seeking re-election for the first time, and the other Republicans on the ballot were President Ronald Reagan and Senator John Warner, whose popularity was quite high. Boucher debated Stafford something like 13 times. I'm not sure if he has allowed 13 debates since then. My conclusion was that Boucher did many things wrong and had everything against him but won anyway. To that I would add, he'll never come that close to losing again.
Regarding Professor Sabato, I read somewhere recently in the blogosphere (commenting specifically on the word that Sabato thought Bredesen of Tennessee could be a dark-horse candidate for the Democrat nomination for vice-president in 2004) that the professor's opinions are like raffle tickets, and he hopes the more he has, the better his chances of a winner. No one would be more amused by this than Professor Sabato himself.