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Grading the Crystal Ball

On New Year's Day I posted my thoughts on what would be the factors in the midterm elections and made some predictions. I thought it would be interested to revisit that post now that we are just before the elections.

I singled out five major factors. How did I do?

  1. It's the Economy Stupid. In fearless display of bravery I boldly predicted that the fate of the Democrats in November would hinge on the extent, if any, of an economic recovery that was enjoyed between January and the elections. As there has been no recovery, I think it is safe to say this is the largest albatross for incumbents right now.
  2. Everyone Loves Big Government. I thought that it Obama, Pelosi, and Reid pushed more 'large government' ideas such as a second stimulus and Obamacare, that the public would reject such endeavors. It should be noted that I clearly never thought Obamacare would pass--it was the attempt alone that I thought would be damaging. Since Obamacare did pass, I think the damage to supporters here is much greater than I imagined.
  3. I Am Not A Virginian, But An American! I wondered if the tea party influence would split conservative votes or effect candidate decisions in two-party races. In most cases it has been the latter. Had it been the former, a number of Democratic candidates might have much better odds in two weeks. I definitely thought the tea party influence would be present but I was not prescient like Glenn Reynolds who predicted the revolutionary change to the American political landscape that the tea parties would drive.
  4. Nuts! This one I feel like I got wrong. I thought that failure in Afghanistan or Iraq would be an issue and if it is one, the effects seem to be minor. While you seem some noise about restricted rules of engagement, on the whole military successes or failures don't seem to be on the forefront of national attention at the moment. I suppose this is just another example of "It's the economy, stupid," being the trump card in American politics.
  5. Hope and Change. This one I got completely wrong. I argued that whatever his faults Obama was personable and a great campaigner. The multitude of "the magic is gone" editorials from noted liberal pundits would suggest that he has failed here, as well. I completely expected Obama to be able to save a few targeted Democratic candidates in the midterms. In fact, the exact opposite is now true. Incumbents who are able to distance themselves from Obama are doing better in the polls.
If I am being generous I got about 3 out of 5 of the factors right. Since I'm a baseball fan, I'll be happy with the .600 average.

In terms of predictions, I was far too conservative. I argued it was inevitable that the Republicans would see big gains in both the House and Senate (that much I got right), but that they would be unable to achieve a majority in either. Now it is pretty obvious that a majority for Republicans in the House is a given and Senate is going to be close either way.

I also invited predictions in comments from readers. Although the comments get derailed by a discussion of Kenyan citizenship (*sigh*), I will note that Stan25 posted a list of ten predictions and a number of them were correct or at least partially correct.

How did your election predictions from the beginning of the year hold up?


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Comments (10)

Did you mean, "... I was [n... (Below threshold)

Did you mean, "... I was [not] prescient like ...."

[DK. Yes I did. Fixed, thanks.]

#3 is hilarious. ... (Below threshold)
Tsar Nicholas II:

#3 is hilarious.

In Nevada the so-called 'Tea Party' candidate has turned what would have been a crushing loss for Harry Reid (almost certainly by double digits) into a nail biter of a contest in which Reid still could prevail, despite being the most unpopular incumbent in recent memory.

In New York the 'Tea Party' candidates are so weak and from the political fringes (and in Paladino's case deranged) their respective Democrat opponents are both leading by 20+ percentage points in consensus polls.

In Delaware the same demographic that gave us Sharron Angle already has thrown away certain victory in that crucial Senate race, and in so doing saddled the Republican Party with a fringe candidate who's so utterly lost she's become a laughingstock deserving of SNL parody.

In Arizona the 'Tea Party' movement is so irrelevant the epitome of a RINO incumbent easily won his Senate primary contest.

In Illinois the 'Tea Party' Senate candidate finished 5th in a six-candidate field.

In the Indiana Senate primary the 'Tea Party' candidate lost to a guy who had been retired from electoral politics for almost a decade.

In the Texas gubernatorial contest the 'Tea Party' candidate turned out to be a Truther.

In Alaska the 'Tea Party' Senate candidate is in serious danger of losing to a write-in candidate, a prospective result that would be unprecedended in history.

In the Washington Senate primary the 'Tea Party' candidate was crushed by double digits and then incomprehensibly refused to endorse the victor.

In the Missouri Senate primary the 'Tea Party' candidate finished so far behind the establishment Republican candidate (a long-term Congressman) it's not even worth discussing.

Cocoons, it would appear, are not merely for caterpillars....

Tsar Nicholas II - I'm gues... (Below threshold)

Tsar Nicholas II - I'm guessing that you preferred the SHORTER list, rather than the LONGER list where they have prevailed so far.

Let's check back Nov 3rd.

So Tsar you are arguing tha... (Below threshold)

So Tsar you are arguing that the incumbents in Congress would be in a worse place than they are now if there was no tea party movement? Wow, just wow.

Its the economy stupid!... (Below threshold)

Its the economy stupid!

Upon this one truth hang all the dems and contributing factors. And brother, is the "won" ever in denial. Flying around the country dragging candidates to the forum by force to appear with him as the "pariah in cheif".

Anyone heard from jim x? Or is he now Galoob incognito?

The only prediction I made ... (Below threshold)

The only prediction I made is looking better then ever.

1. Obama is a one term president - assuming he lives thru the term.

I got about 25% with some o... (Below threshold)
retired military:

I got about 25% with some of them still to be determined.

I did strike out on almost all the big ones but hey they were stretches anyway.

I would point out that the ... (Below threshold)

I would point out that the Tea Party challenge to McCain casued him to renounce his amnesty position ...

The Harry Reid one has yet ... (Below threshold)

The Harry Reid one has yet to be determined, but the way things are looking right now; the big blowout is still a distinct possibility.

Shorter Tsar Nicholas II:</... (Below threshold)
Sean P:

Shorter Tsar Nicholas II:

Look! Over there! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain -- and the two mile tsunami wave right behind him.






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