Sabato crowned king of the crystal ball

Election Night 2006 will go down in history as a big night for Democrats with their winning of a sizable majority in the House of Representatives and a potential one-seat majority in the Senate (pending the outcome of our own potentially imminent recount). But the biggest victor of all might be UVA professor and political pundit Larry Sabato. Having correctly predicted the outcome in 483 of 502 House, Senate, and governor's races, Sabato had an accuracy rating of 96 percent, good enough to be crowned the champion of all political prognosticators by both MSNBC and Fox News.

Sabato says such accuracy requires two whole years of preparation. "You don't come into this three weeks ahead of time," he says. "So I want to attribute this to a great team: Matt Smyth, Dave Wasserman, and Mike Baudinet. They all work 8-10 hour days year round keeping up with the dynamics, the voting patterns, the strengths of the candidates, and knowing the districts a lot better than Stephen Colbert."

Of particular note is how Sabato was 100 percent accurate in the Senate races decided thus far. With Democrat Jim Webb beating Senator George Allen by 7,349 votes (at this hour) out of over 2.3 million cast, Sabato is confident his prediction for Webb will give him a perfect 33 of 33.

"This is way above what is needed for a secure victory for Webb," he says. "Remember, in last year's attorney general recount, out of 1.9 million votes, only several dozen changed. What are the odds a margin as big as 7,000 is going to collapse?"

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