Alan Abramowitz Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science

Headshot of Alan Abramowitz 1x1  @AlanIAbramowitz

Areas of Expertise

  • National politics
  • Polling and election forecasting
  • Partisan divides
  • Political party realignment
  • Voting behavior


Alan Abramowitz, PhD, the Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science, is a widely cited expert on national politics, polling and elections. His expertise includes election forecasting models, party realignment in the US, congressional elections, and the effects of political campaigns on the electorate. His election forecast has correctly and precisely predicted the popular vote winner within two percentage points or less in every US presidential election since 1988. He is the author or co-author of five books including The Great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation and the Rise of Donald Trump (2018) and The Disappearing Center: Engaged Citizens, Polarization and American Democracy (2010).


New Hampshire Primary Results (Feb. 12, 2020)

What do you see as the key takeaways from the New Hampshire primary?

  • One is that [Senator] Bernie Sanders finished first, but his margin and vote share were a little underwhelming. His margin over [Mayor] Pete Buttigieg is going to be between 1 and 2 points, and that’s less than what the polls were saying. In the polls, Sanders was up 6 to 8 points over Buttigieg.
  • What we’re seeing now is [Senator] Amy Klobuchar and Buttigieg are benefitting from the collapse of [former Vice President Joe] Biden’s [performance]. They’re seen as moderate alternatives to Sanders. [Senator] Elizabeth Warren obviously is also in trouble after finishing fourth in New Hampshire, right next door to her home state of Massachusetts.
  • Sanders is consolidating the vote of the most progressive Democratic primary voters, and in national polling, he’s leading but it’s still under 30 percent of Democratic voters.

What will you be watching moving forward?

  • The big question is: Can Biden resuscitate his campaign in South Carolina? None of the other Democrats are all that strong there. The Democrat who’s running second there is [Tom] Steyer, mainly because he’s been spending a lot of money there. But I don’t see where he goes after South Carolina.
  • For a lot of Democratic primary voters now, it’s still about finding someone they think has a good chance to beat [President Donald] Trump. For a long time, it looked like Biden had the best shot, but when you’re doing poorly in the primaries, it’s harder to make the case that you’re the most electable candidate. So now it’s a question of whether Buttigieg or Klobuchar can establish themselves as national candidates, and whether Biden can stay in the game.
  • I’ll be watching to see what happens to Klobuchar. For Klobuchar to become a real player, she needs to raise a lot of money quickly, showing that she can compete in upcoming states, including Super Tuesday states.
  • The other thing that changes at Super Tuesday and beyond is that we have [former New York Mayor] Michael Bloomberg on the ballot. Bloomberg is working hard to court African American voters in the South and elsewhere by massive advertising and organizing.

How much will the South Carolina primary be a bellwether?

  • South Carolina will be an indication of whether Biden hang on to his African American support going into Super Tuesday, where there will be several other southern states voting. Generally, you would expect doing well in South Carolina is a pretty good predictor of how well a candidate will do in Georgia, because African Americans comprise about 60 percent of Democratic voters in both states.

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