February 1, 2008 — Two University of Virginia politics professors will play key roles in network coverage of the "Super Tuesday" primaries and caucuses on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Larry J. Sabato, founder and executive director of U.Va.'s Center for Politics and the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics, will co-anchor the British Broadcasting Corporation's Super Tuesday election coverage and the network's flagship news program, "BBC World News America."
Paul Freedman, an associate professor of politics and co-author of the new book, "Campaign Advertising and American Democracy," will serve as an election analyst for ABC News' coverage. His role is mostly behind the scenes on the "decision desk."
"A small number of us analyze exit poll data and early vote returns and tell the anchor when he can declare that Barack Obama has won the Illinois primary, for example," Freedman said. "But we're hidden away in a back room. The cameras may stop by for a visit, but it's usually for a 'Here are the nerds at work'-type segment."
"Super Tuesday" is expected to be a pivotal event in the race for the White House. Two-dozen states from Massachusetts to California will vote on Tuesday, electing more than 40 percent of all Democratic and Republican delegates in 2008. (Virginia's primary is Feb. 12.)
"Never before, in the process of nominating candidates for president, has the United States held anything that will so closely resemble a national primary as what will occur on Super Tuesday," said Ken Stroupe, chief of staff of the Center for Politics.
"BBC World News America's" Super Tuesday election coverage will be anchored by Matt Frei, and along with Sabato in the studio, BBC Washington correspondent Katty Kay will provide results and reactions from the field. It will air domestically on the BBC America channel and internationally on BBC World.
ABC News plans five hours of election coverage beginning at 8 p.m. EST, anchored by Charles Gibson.
Sabato is the author of the new book, "A More Perfect Constitution." He also oversees "Sabato's Crystal Ball," a comprehensive nonpartisan Web site (www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball) run by the Center for Politics that features analyses of presidential elections, Senate, House and gubernatorial races.