Larry Joseph Sabato (born August 7, 1952) is an American political scientist and analyst. He is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, and director of its Center for Politics. He founded Sabato's Crystal Ball, an online newsletter and website that provides free political analysis and electoral projections. He has been called "the most-quoted college professor in the land," "hideously overquoted," and a "pundit with an opinion for every reporter’s phone call."
Sabato grew up in Norfolk, Virginia, graduating from Norfolk Catholic High School in 1970. Four years later, he graduated from the University of Virginia. A 1974 Cavalier Daily poll showed more people could identify Sabato as student government president than could name Edgar F. Shannon, Jr. as University president. Sabato graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in government. He followed his undergraduate degree with graduate study at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs for one year. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1975, which brought him to study at Queen's College at Oxford University. In less than two years he earned his doctorate in politics from Oxford.
Prior to his time as a political analyst, Sabato worked for nine years with Virginia Democratic politician Henry Howell. At the age of 15, Sabato joined Howell's first campaign for the Virginia governorship in 1968, and then worked on his successful run for lieutenant governor in 1971, and his campaigns for governor in 1973 and 1977.