Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball pegs governor’s race as “Lean Democrat”

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Sabato’s Crystal Ball predicts winners and losers in elections often more accurately than even the most seasoned pundits. The website run by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics is calling Charlie Crist as the victor in this year’s gubernatorial blood bath.

But it wasn’t always that way. Crystal Ball has changed its prediction from a toss-up to a Democratic lean in favor of Crist over incumbent Rick Scott.

“Gov. Rick Scott and former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist have waged an ugly battle for the Sunshine State governorship. Although Crist holds an extremely slim lead in the poll averages, there’s little question that the incumbent Scott could wind up winning. Still, we have to pick someone, and what evidence our sources have provided us suggests that Crist is, ever-so-slightly, the better bet,” the latest predictions read.

Crystal Ball doesn’t look specifically at state legislature races, but does look at the numbers holistically. A graphic showing which states have Republican-controlled legislatures shows an overwhelmingly red map of the U.S. The website and its authors note that the layout of that partisan divide isn’t likely to change this mid-term under a Democratic president. Another graph shows that for all but two mid-term elections since the early 1900s, the party holding the White House fared miserably in mid-term elections as it pertains to state legislative races.

Sobato’s Crystal Ball also predicts that Republicans will regain a majority in the U.S. Senate and increase their chokehold on the House of Representatives. It predicts a gain of 8 Republicans in the Senate – creating a 53-47 margin – and a net increase of 9 members of the GOP in the House for a majority 243-192.

As for Governors, the Crystal Ball predicts Republicans will still control a majority of states, but not as many as they do now. Currently 29 states have Republican leaders. The new predictions show 3 GOP governors getting the boot and replaced by two Democrats and one independent. Crist is one Democrat. The other is Paul Davis in Kansas. The predict Alaska governor Sean Parnell losing to independent Bill Walker.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.