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Political expert to use ‘crystal ball' on WV politics

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Photo courtesy of University of Virginia Center for Politics. Larry Sabato is the founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and has a weekly newsletter — Sabato’s Crystal Ball — that specializes in projecting elections. Photo courtesy of University of Virginia Center for Politics. Larry Sabato is the founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and has a weekly newsletter — Sabato’s Crystal Ball — that specializes in projecting elections.

Larry Sabato is not only excited to speak on his extensive knowledge of national politics, but also to visit the beautiful Greenbrier Resort.

Invited by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Sabato said he intends to cover a range of topics including how elections are going throughout the country.

In his weekly newsletter, Sabato's Crystal Ball, he said there's an anniversary Americans tend to ignore — the centennial of popular elections for the U.S. Senate.

West Virginia is no stranger to heated elections, especially when it comes to the century old debate about coal. Sabato said the race between Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is no different.

In his ability to analyze and determine the outcome in many national elections, Sabato said he uses his “crystal ball” to figure out how a state is changing, and then predict the outcome of the election based on that.

“We specialize in projecting elections,” he said of his newsletter.

As far as the Mountain State, Sabato and his team have discovered the state is experiencing a movement from largely Democratic to Republican.

After giving the state a “net movement” of 19.3 percent from 1996 to 2012, Sabato and his team of experts said West Virginia “represents a movement from Democrat winning, for example, 54 (percent) of the vote in West Virginia to winning 35 (percent) of the vote. So the net swing is the double the shift in partisan index — in this case, an astonishing 38 points.”

Looking at other states that have been Democratic in the past, many races involving that party are in “trouble,” he said. West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana are the front-runners for changing states.

“The playing field has worsened for them substantially since 1996,” writes Sean Trende, senior columnist for Sabato's Crystal Ball. “West Virginia has moved wildly, while South Dakota and Montana have moved from the outskirts of purple state status to true red state status — meaning largely Republican.

While he writes for his publication, Sabato's Crystal Ball, Sabato is the founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. He also is the University Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia.

In addition, Sabato directs the Center for Politics' Crystal Ball website, as well as having won an Emmy award for the PBS documentary “The Kennedy Half-Century,” which covered the life, assassination and lasting legacy of the late President John F. Kennedy.

Follow Sabato on Twitter (@LarrySabato) for more political news.