Friday, February 08, 2008

Well, we all make mistakes ....

People in the business of making political predictions are constantly offering up hostages to fortune. Here are a few notorious predictions about the current (never-ending) US presidential campaign that turned out not to be quite right.

=> Joe Scarborough's political predictions for 2007 (OK, I know he's a lightweight, but he gets paid good money for churning out pseudo-punditry) - December 22, 2006:

"Obama’s shot at the top will be short lived. But since BHO is young enough, dynamic enough and (just) black enough to whip official Washington into a frenzy, expect this stupid story to stick around for a while. Soon enough though, this year’s model will be shouting, 'Please give a warm Chicago welcome to the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton!'
Cheering for New York’s junior senator excites Democratic activists about as much as rooting for General Electric. Regardless of their hand wringing, Hillary Inc. will grind up and spit out any Democratic challenger that gets in its way."

=> Charlie Cook (in his very heavyweight Cook Political Report) - July 14, 2007:

"For all intents and purposes, McCain's campaign is over. The physicians have pulled up the sheet; the executors of the estate are taking over. Paying bills and winding down -- not strategizing, organizing, and getting a message out -- will be the order of the day."

=> Michael Graham (National Review On-Line) - January 26, 2008:

"The 'could we beat Obama?' conversation is purely academic. It's over. The Clintons have defeated him already, because he is leaving South Carolina as 'the black candidate'.
He won't win another state. Even worse, in November Hillary will carry 90 percent of the black vote, despite their cynical, race-based campaign against the first viable black presidential candidate."

(Michael Graham is a nobody ... but various other people, whom I am too kind to name, were saying pretty similar things.)

=> Super-Pollster John Zogby's final predictions for the California primaries on Super Tuesday (February 5, 2008):

Democratic: Hillary Clinton 36% | Barack Obama 49%
Actual results: Hillary Clinton 52% | Barack Obama 42%
Republican: John McCain 33% | Mitt Romney 40%
Actual results: John McCain 42% | Mitt Romney 34%

--Jeff Weintraub