By Henry Decker

Pundit Scorecard: The Good, The Bad… And Dick Morris

November 7, 2012 7:29 pm Category: Memo Pad 40 Comments A+ / A-
Pundit Scorecard: The Good, The Bad… And Dick Morris

Political punditry is a somewhat unique field, in that there rarely seems to be any consequence for being horrible at it. Once a “very serious” person is labeled as a “political analyst,” the ability to actually analyze politics with any degree of accuracy tends to become strangely divorced from the ability to find platforms willing to broadcast that person’s predictions.

Hundreds of pundits attempted to predict the outcome of the 2012 presidential election; some predictions were nearly perfect, and some were nearly the exact opposite of what happened. Although it seems painfully obvious, the results suggest a key takeaway that many political observers have not yet acknowledged: Those pundits who used large samples of real data to make their predictions fared far better than those who simply followed their guts.

Arguably the biggest winner from election night is New York Times statistician Nate Silver. Silver attracted the ire of many conservatives by predicting that President Obama had a 90 percent chance of winning re-election, based on his polling aggregation model (most hilariously, unskewedpolls.com founder Dean Chambers urged people to disregard Silver’s analysis because he is a “thin and effeminate man.“)

It turns out that Silver’s “thin, effeminate” predictions were almost perfect. If Florida ends up in President Obama’s column, which appears likely at this point, then Silver will have predicted the correct outcome in all 50 states.

Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium, who uses a similar statistical model to Silver’s, also had a great night. Wang’s prediction of a 303-235 Obama victory in the electoral college will be perfect if Florida goes to the Republicans, and his prediction that Obama would win the popular vote by a 51.1 to 48.9 percent margin was nearly perfect (unless votes not counted yet change that statistic).

Drew Linzer, who also uses a poll-aggregating statistical model, nailed his prediction of a 332-206 electoral college victory for Obama.

Democratic pollster and strategist Stan Greenberg’s longstanding prediction that Romney’s “momentum” was a mirage — and that Obama would win comfortably – was proven correct. James Carville, Greenberg’s partner at Democracy Corps, was also right on the money when he predicted an “ass-whoopin’” on election night.

Daily Kos editor-in-chief Markos Moulitsas made a very sound prediction as well: that Obama would win the electoral college 332-206, outperforming many national polls because they assumed a big drop-off from registered voters to likely voters.

The least successful pundit on election night — with the exception of the aforementioned Dean Chambers, whose “unskewed” numbers were completely made up — was Fox News contributor Dick Morris. Morris predicted a Romney landslide, with the Republican winning 325 electoral votes and beating Obama by 5 percent in the popular vote. Morris’ laughably inaccurate 2012 projection is certain to be remembered near the top of the long, long list of blown predictions throughout his career.

Several of Morris’ colleagues on the right also ended up dead wrong on election night. Michael Barone — the conservative pundit who memorably called his former classmate Mitt Romney “kind of a jerk” — looks like something of a jerk himself after predicting that the race’s “fundamentals” would power Romney to a 315-223 electoral college landslide.

Charles Krauthammer’s prediction of a narrow Romney victory was bad — but not as bad as his April declaration that Donald Trump would run for president, and that he would be “gracious,” “courteous,” and “a serious candidate and a serious man.”

Karl Rove inaccurately predicted that Romney would win the electoral college by a 285-253 vote margin. Rove is somewhat unique on this list in that he refused to abandon his prediction even after Ohio had been called for President Obama, arguing on live TV that his employer Fox News had gotten it wrong (and apparently missing the irony that he of all people would complain about an early electoral call). In Rove’s defense, he was probably desperate to prevent a Romney loss so he could avoid those awkward phone calls with American Crossroads donors looking for a refund.

No commentator exemplified the disconnect between the accurate pundits — who made predictions based on the available polling data — and the election night losers who simply followed hunches better than Peggy Noonan. In a Wall Street Journal blog post, Noonan predicted a Romney win simply because “all the vibrations are right.” Noonan not only ignored the polls, she actually suggested that “the real distortion of the polls this year” is that “they left us discounting the world around us.” I’m not sure that Peggy Noonan fully understands how polling works.

Perhaps the only pundit to significantly overestimate Obama’s chances was CNBC’s Jim Cramer. The “Mad Money” host, who is most famous for urging investors to buy and hold Bear Stearns stock just days before the firm’s collapse, predicted that Obama would win the electoral college by a staggering 440-98 margin.

Photo by National Constitution Center via Flickr.com

Pundit Scorecard: The Good, The Bad… And Dick Morris Reviewed by on . Political punditry is a somewhat unique field, in that there rarely seems to be any consequence for being horrible at it. Once a "very serious" person is labele Political punditry is a somewhat unique field, in that there rarely seems to be any consequence for being horrible at it. Once a "very serious" person is labele Rating:

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Comments

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7DKWSXHQIDBW5PUAPZ2HZAYYUY Baron Cormac

    Man, I woulda loved to hear the call from Charlie Koch to Turd Blossom this morning demanding his money back! If I were Karl Rove, I would have emptied my bank accounts out and headed to some place where the Kochs could never find him – like next door to Bill Clinton’s Harlem office!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Jones/827014412 Daniel Jones

      Karl? In *Harlem*?

      Within three minutes you’d swear some fools were trying to re-enact the early part of *Die Hard With A Vengeance*..

      • TZToronto

        I doubt that he’s ever worn a sandwich board.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pat.campbellcozzi Pat Campbell-Cozzi

      suspect he will be made whole again by the folks who listened to Geo W Bush telling the investors in the Cayman Islands to move their funds off shore.

    • ORAXX

      Here’s a thought……maybe Rove’s a closet Democrat.

  • Sand_Cat

    Cramer just predicted what should happen in a reasonably sane country where people of all persuasions tend to punish obvious lies and deliberate deceptions, and other insults to their intelligence. But here in the USA, it appears a very significant portion of the electorate has very little to insult in that area.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B6RROC4IUESHT322QS5VJVPYRM Lynda

    Nate Silver got the ultimate payback by being 100% correct on the results of the states in the electoral college. He does not have to respond to these jerks. The echo chamber of nonsense was and still is a self-reinforcing method of remaining in the bubble of disconnect. When you can’t face the reality of the world crawling to such sources helps the afflicted cope. The poor souls are lost with no moral compass to follow so they latch on to the blovations of Morris and the rest of the couch crew.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZJ5BBSQIGTUMERPZFALES6HQNY Bill

      Correctly put, Nate Silver was on the Daily show Wed. night. He doesn’t pound his chest or claim he is all knowing but his analysis so far has been dead on. He has an engaging personality and good sense of humor, I like listening to him. Now can he predict if the NY Giants will win this Sunday

  • nobsartist

    I feel bad that I was predicting 18 points instead of the 13 that it is at this point.

    Still, I was closer than any of the republiCON “experts”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/frida.thom.7 Frida Thom

    Karl Rove is no longer a person to rely on. He has been replaced by David Plouffe on the Dem side. The man is very, very smarter than anyone can think of. I really admire his intellect.

  • Lovefacts

    I feel bad, too. I screwed up and put NC in the Obama column. I still think I would’ve been right if Obama’d had another week. LOL. I kept telling my sister and friends, it’s the electoral college, stupid. I looked at the map and bet a dinner for four that Obama would have a min. of 332 in the electoral college. Here’s hoping FL comes in for Obama, because I’m not looking forward to cooking a five course dinner for these gals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Sehler/100000396279499 John Sehler

    I think Karl Rove just lost his ability to win elections. The Money is drying up real fast.

    • latebloomingrandma

      His time is over. Good riddance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Colleen-Klemp/100002683878543 Colleen Klemp

    After the HUGE LOSS Carl Rove should be looking for another job, maybe he can try his hand at real estate, he could put his backer’s money into helping to referbish homes or move to Navada & help those people out.

  • upper_westsider

    “It turns out that Silver’s thin, effeminate predictions were almost perfect.” Thin, effeminate?!? I didn’t know predictions had such attributes. PATHETIC.

    • Landsende

      Silvers thin, effeminate predictions sure beat fat, lardass Rove’s.

  • http://twitter.com/Genie2 E. Williams

    The “predictions” from the FOX News pundits were nothing more than a deliberate attempt to mislead viewers, and FOX News was complicit in the deception. I may be overstating to make this point, but the relationship between FOX News and its viewers is much like the abuser/victim relationship. Its a “see-listen-speak-TRUST no one but me…I have your best interest at heart” message that sets the viewer up for this kind of deception. What other explanation do we have to offer for the Americans who STILL believe that Mitt Romney won the popular vote? With the millions of viewers FOX News has, this can be a dangerous message. Both these pundits and FOX News must be held accountable.

    • latebloomingrandma

      When are Fox News watchers going to wise up? They were so sure Romney was going to win and are in shock. When will it occur to them that their news source is not a quality product? They think “America” thinks like they do, that we all believe that Obama is a Muslim and socialist and “foreign”. When are they going to realize their information is unfair and unbalanced?

      • http://www.facebook.com/linton.manier Linton Manier

        Probably only when their viewers wise up and stop watching them. They are pathetic. But I blame the viewers for letting Fox do their thinking for them

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-P-Doyle/1517044469 Christopher P Doyle

      Faux News: “Look into my eyes while reading my lips at the same time”. All is well, redneck children.

  • http://twitter.com/sircorby Sir Corby

    Ann Coulter also predicted a Romney “landslide.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/pogomcl Mary C Legg

    apparently not one of them checked uncle rupie’s twitfeed in morning– rupie conceded a romney loss… as for noonan, she called romney on alienating his party. flip-flops are comfy things

  • Canistercook

    We have now learned that Blacks, Hispanics, Students, Union workers, Government Union workers outnumber the non’s and that coalition wants the non’s to pick up the tab for their entitlements. Trouble is so many do not understand that in trying to get their pound of government handouts they are entitling many others to get it and dragging our country and their offspring into a debt that is killing our country.

    • puzzled21

      What handouts are you referring to? Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Aid to Dependent Children, Red Cross, Pell Grants, GI Bill, VA Hospitals, Homeless Shelters, Food Banks, Housing Assistance, Basic Medical Care. If any of these things are not something that you or anyone you know have use for okay. I have not included all of the programs that were created to assist the American people and maybe there are none you or yours have had a need for. I will agree there are some things that need to be addressed and changed in many of these programs. Like anything where there is a human factor there is waste and greed, these things can be and should be addressed collectively, with the purpose of finding the best solution for each situation. In this process we may not always get our way, the goal is to do what will benefit the whole. We can continue to stand on either side and shout our party lines at one another, with no intent for solution and we will find ourselves in the same place. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Intelligent beings know that compromise is a necessary tool for survival. Peace

    • http://www.facebook.com/anime.joe.7 Joe WallStreet

      Don’t forget a huge majority of Asians (over 70%) and single women also joined the Students, Blacks, Hispanics and Union workers in making the sensible choice in re-electing Obama. You’re welcome. :)

  • midway54

    What a crew of beauties so typical of the Fox “News” crowd and so admired by the audience of benighted dupes and yahoos who gather in front of the tube for their daily saturation of rightwing bilge that sends them into a bulging-eyed, red-faced frenzy against “them un-American, socialistic librules.”

  • notafoxfan

    pundits and polls are all part of the election process,no matter how wrong they might be or how tired we are of listening to them..i do wish however that ones like rove, and limbaugh,and morris and actually all of the fox news group, would take their money and their comments and crawl back under the rock they came from!

  • Jack Wormer

    Interesting note about pundits’ “clairvoyance” being inversely proportional to their girths!
    The only way the Koch-fraternity can get its money back is to……………………………………….
    LEGALLY ADOPT THE GOP’S TOP-CON, KARL ROVE!

  • http://twitter.com/MortAlcoil1 Mort Alcoil

    As I have said; Republicans today have no grasp of reality or facts. They make up whatever rubbish they want to, making sure it fits their dogma to a T and then they start believing their own fairy-tale propaganda!

    It’s stunning to me to see people who I KNOW are smart, be so afflicted with tunnel vision and drinking their OWN Kool-Aid.

    The right-wing “bubble” prevents any reality or truth from penetrating their self-made Universe and these absurd predictions from them prove that conclusively; to be SO far away from the actual outcome is laughable.

    Nate Silver.. All I can say, is “please help me pick stocks?”… “please?” And the Republicans who publicly ridiculed Nate Silver? They should all be freaking ASHAMED of themselves!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-P-Doyle/1517044469 Christopher P Doyle

      Being wrong and a Republican means never to have to say you’re sorry.

  • ALLLLAMERICAN

    The LIBS are the ones that have NO grasp of reality!!

    You want to wealthy to pay for your obamacare and allll your other benefits
    BUT, you hate the Rich!!!!

    You LIBS should love the wealthy that his how you survive
    and that is how the world is runs
    NOT by a bunch of Lazy losers living on the GOVERNMENT!

    Stocks have CRASHED thanks to obama and you LIBS!!!

    Banks are on hold and wont loan any money!!!!

    The value of the dollar is going to diminish

    The US is going down!!!!!!!

    • Landsende

      The stocks dropped because of uncertainty in Europe and because the financial sector is worried that they will no longer be able to make risky investments that will hurt investors and the economy and have to be bailed out by the taxpayers again. Were you making such dire predictions and bitching when GWB tanked the economy?

    • puzzled21

      Yes it is, because folks like you continue to refuse to believe that there are many ways to solve the same problem, the key is to come together and find the most expeditious and expedient manner. The folks on your side of the isle believe that your way is THE WAY and the ONLY WAY, PERIOD. If we don’t agree then we must be un-american. Your deep seated belief systems, along with your misguided information, in regards to those who may need some assistance to pursue their American dream, continues to cloud your ability to understand that this country was built on the backs of people who were willing to sacrifice for each other and share for the good of the whole. We also enjoy indulging in the finer things in life, just not at the expense of everyone else.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-P-Doyle/1517044469 Christopher P Doyle

      Don’t get your panties in a wad. Just hunker down in your bunker bubble, and cling to your guns and bible.

  • actionjacks7

    carl rove, dick morris, charles krathammer and the other rightwing assholes don’t know their assholes from a hole in the ground. hahahahahahahah–hohohohohohohoho–hehehehehehehe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-P-Doyle/1517044469 Christopher P Doyle

    Morris and Rove has played you rednecks and bible thumpers like a bad drum. “Employer Faux has got it wrong”/ lmao

  • dljones

    Ding Dong Decker. What a side bar analysis. They pay you for this? Who cares about last years polls. Your “words of wisdom” will go down in history as in yesterday’s trash.

    Why don’t you write about the joke of the day. FEMA closes due to bad weather. Former director of FEMA Michael Brown said there seems to be a lack of communications all while the East Coast inhabits hell..

    Or why don’t you write about the tragedy of the massacre in Benghazi where 4 brave Americans were abandoned.

    Or the implications of when in 52 days our polarized nation will reach the fiscal cliff.

    Or how many times will we continue to hear of how Bush left the country a mess. Surprised OBAMA DID NOT ASK FOR A THIRD TERM.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mauricio.caceres.100 Mauricio Caceres

    Dick Morris pick some of the habits of the ladies he used to hang around with,fox news shows the money and he will said anythign.

  • http://twitter.com/pjhoody Half-a-Gallon Hood

    Let’s not forget the esteemed George Will who actually predicted a 321-217 Romney landslide. His foolish prediction included Romney carrying Minnesota, a state he of course lost by almost 8 points. The concerted effort among Republicans to divorce themselves from reality and pitch a tent in their fact-free echo chamber is pretty hilarious, if not alarming.

  • geno4red

    Rove is a smart but unscruulous manipulater, Morris is a clown~! ignore both!!

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