The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Grading My Pre-Election Predictions . . .


“Hey, does Jim know what he’s talking about?”

Looking at my predictions, the answer is “sometimes.”

In the governor’s races, I predicted the correct winner in 32 races and the wrong winner in 2 (Oregon and Vermont, where the Republican lost by .9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively), with a few still waiting to be finalized (Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota). Every once in a while, my sense of the margin was off; I suggested Nikki Haley would win in South Carolina by a “country mile,” and she won by 4.3 percent. Perhaps I meant “country kilometer.”

In the Senate races, I predicted the correct winner in 33 races, and picked the wrong winner in Colorado and Nevada, where as of this writing, the Republican lost by .9 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively. We’re still waiting on Alaska, where I predicted Joe Miller, and Washington, where I predicted Patty Murray.

Considering how many House races are noncompetitive, my House picks only look good at first glance. I predicted the correct winner in 394 races and the wrong winner in 31 races; 10 are still being counted and recounted and sorted out. It appears my wrong Republicans and wrong Democrats balanced each other out; I predicted an overall pickup of 70 seats for Republicans; with 60 seats set and 10 to be sorted out, they will probably end up in the ballpark of that figure but a bit short.

Having said that, look back at my infamous May list of 99 House districts with potential GOP pickups, and I look like a visionary. Almost all of the 60 GOP pickups were on that list, and almost all of the Democrats on that list who survived won by much smaller margins than they usually do. It was then that I classified beating Rep. Phil Hare in Illinois as roughly as difficult as beating the 2009 edition of the St. Louis Rams; on Election Day, Republican challenger Bobby Schilling won by almost 10 points.

Tags: 2010


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