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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