What did you get wrong? What did you get right?

We've had ten days to decompress from the election. It's time for a little self-promotion and self-criticism.

What did you predict accurately during the past campaign, and what did you get completely wrong?

The ground rules for this thread are as follows:

1. This is about your own forecasting skills. Do not post a comment solely to mock someone else's idiocy.

2. You are not allowed to boast about something you got right without owning up to at least one thing you got wrong.

3. For maximum bragging rights, include a link to a comment or diary containing your accurate prediction. Links are not required, though.

I'll get the ball rolling. Here are some of the more significant things I got wrong during the presidential campaign that just ended.

I thought that since John Edwards had been in the spotlight for years, the Republicans would probably not be able to spring an "October surprise" on us if he were the Democratic nominee. Oops.

In 2006 I thought Hillary's strong poll numbers among Democrats were

inflated by the fact that she has a lot of name recognition. I think once the campaign begins, her numbers will sink like Lieberman's did in 2003.

Then when her poll numbers held up in most states throughout 2007, I thought Hillary's coalition would collapse if she lost a few early primaries. Um, not quite.

I thought Barack Obama would fail to be viable in a lot of Iowa precincts dominated by voters over age 50.

I thought Obama had zero chance of beating John McCain in Florida.

Here are a few things I got right:

I consistently predicted that Hillary would finish no better than third in the Iowa caucuses. For that I was sometimes ridiculed in MyDD comment threads during the summer and fall of 2007.

I knew right away that choosing Sarah Palin was McCain's gift to Democrats on his own birthday, because it undercut his best argument against Obama: lack of experience.

I immediately sensed that letting the Obama campaign take over the GOTV effort in Iowa might lead to a convincing victory for Obama here without maximizing the gains for our down-ticket candidates. In fact, Iowa Democrats did lose a number of statehouse races we should have won last week.

By the way, if you are from Iowa or have Iowa connections, please consider helping the progressive community blog Bleeding Heartland analyze what went wrong and what went right for Democrats in some of the state House and Senate races.

Tags: 2008 elections, Barack Obama, GOTV, Hillary Clinton, Iowa, Iowa Caucuses, John Edwards, president, Primaries (all tags)



a few things

1. Before early voting, I didn't think Obama had ANY chance in FL and NC.

2. I always knew he would win OH.

3. I knew he would never choose Hillary for VP.

4. I thought he would choose one of the VA boys - Warner, Webb, Kaine.

5. I knew Palin would hurt McCain.

6. I always thought in the back of my mind that Obama would have trouble with Jewish voters.

by highgrade 2008-11-15 04:07AM | 0 recs
Re: a few things

Agree to 2-3-4-5. I thought in the final weeks he would get 400+ EV,he came close though!

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-15 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong/right?

I'll keep mine short, citing just the 2 biggest to my credit.


1. I thought Hillary would win the nomination.

2. After some initial misgivings, I gave Edwards the benefit of the doubt.


1. The Democratic candidate would win this election.

2. The party would find a way to come together in the end.

by phoenixdreamz 2008-11-15 04:09AM | 0 recs
Sounds a lot like me...

What I was wrong about:

1. Barack Obama would crash & burn in Iowa, as all those young voters & new voters we kept hearing about wouldn't show up. His operation was too eerily similar to Howard Dean's in 2004.

2. Primary season would essentially end on February 5 with Hillary Clinton likely having enough of a delegate lead to scare the other big candidates out.

3. Obama couldn't actually win North Carolina & Indiana in the general election.

4. Obama would have problems connecting on the economy.

5. Debbie Cook would narrowly score an upset in CA-46 & Linda Stender would win in NJ-07.

What I was right about:

6. The economy would be Issue #1 in this election.

7. Obama would win Nevada & Dina Titus would win NV-03.

8. Obama's margin of victory in New Mexico would be bigger than that in Iowa.

9. Obama would win Florida & Ohio, perhaps narrowly but still by enough to carry more Dems from both states into Congress.

10. On January 20, we'll have a Democratic President, 57+ Dems in the Senate, and at least 255 Dems in the House. :-D

by atdleft 2008-11-15 06:11AM | 0 recs
Oh, and I almost forgot...

11. Hillary would win the New Hampshire Primary.

12. "PUMA" would fizzle out quickly and devolve into deliciously trollish comedy of errors. ;-)

by atdleft 2008-11-15 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong/right?

Ditto.  Except your "rights" took me a little longer to come to.  I thought Hillary's supporters would affect the outcome.  I thought I would be one of those, after hedging, back and forth.  Then, the day before the election, I saw a posting on TalkLeft; it was a simple diary that included a youtube clip of Billy Joel's "We didn't start the fire".  Interestingly, I spend a lot more time on this site than TL, but there was no conversation here that compelled me.  And the participants on this site had plenty of opportunity to  compel a whole bunch of people; squandered opportunities.  Regardless, the Dem won.

by ChitownDenny 2008-11-15 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong?

On the popular vote I predicted pretty much as it happened 51-46, off by 1.

Electoral college I predicted 364-174, however giving MO to Obama and IN to McCain--ends up in the same number. Did not see Obama taking NE-2

Senate I predicted 59, and we're almost there! Though I thought Franken would lose. I always thought he was not the right guy to take on Coleman. We'll see if he can pull it out.

I thought NC would be something like 52-48...I was surprised to see how close it ended up being.

On the House I was totally wrong, I thought he we would net 40 seats...

by need some wood 2008-11-15 04:09AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong?

Your PV was Off by 2 points, final count is 53-46. Agreed with NC, but I thought it would be close to 3 points as opposed to a complete dead heat. BIG win for polls this election, MO and NC polls were all tied or 1 point difference which is what happened (MO is still not called).

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-15 05:13AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong?

I also predicted 364, though I did Indiana and Missouri correctly.  I had Dem Senators at 58, which may well happen.

But I was too high on the House seats, predicting 31 wins.  

It looks like the organizing didn't go into the local areas enough.  Tells us what comes next for us.  

And I neglected to give the third party folks enough room in the popular vote.  I gave Obama 53 and McCain 46.

by lynnallen 2008-11-15 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong?

Even as an early and strong supporter of Obama, I thought at some point racism would rear it's ugly head and his campaign would crash.  So glad I was wrong.

by DemoDan 2008-11-15 04:49AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

Right: I thought Kay Hagan would beat Liddy Dole the day she announced, since for more than 6 years (including the 2002 election) I thought Kay was the single best NC Democrat to run against Liddy.

I predicted Obama would win by 4-6 points and well over 300 electoral votes back in May, and never changed that prediction on any day during the campaign.

Wrong: I thought Obama would win NC by 3-5 points.  I was very surprised how close it was, mainly because I thought he would dominate early voting a lot more than he did.

I thought Don Young could not possibly be reelected.

by LanceS 2008-11-15 04:51AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get rig
Did pretty well on the popular vote (52-46).
Messed up the Electoral College (332-206).
Might be spot on in the Senate, though I hope I'm not (+7) and did OK in my House prediction (+25).
I really, really thought Obama would lose Ohio, no matter what.
After Nevada, I thought Obama was cooked.
After Super Tuesday, I knew Obama would be the nominee (talk about a change of heart).
I never thought for a moment Clinton would take it to the convention (heya, Rachel Maddow).
by GermanAmericanDem 2008-11-15 04:53AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong?

I didn't think Obama would win Ohio in the general.

I thought he would win Texas in the primaries.

I thought Obama had it rapped up on February 6th, and was annoyed at Hillary Clinton for not dropping out, but that was more an error in judgement, since there was never any time for her to drop out except arguably right after Wisconsin.  How do you keep winning big states and then go "okay, I'm done!".  But I didn't make a big deal about it either.

by Jess81 2008-11-15 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong?

wrapped.  Jesus Christ.

Oh, and that John McCain was rhetorically disarming himself by picking Sarah Palin.

by Jess81 2008-11-15 05:35AM | 0 recs
Right and wrong 16 months in advance

On July 17, 2007 (as in, about 16 months before the actual election), I correctly predicted:

1. Barack Obama would win the Dem. primaries and go on to be elected president. :-)

2. The order of the Iowa caucus finish: Obama / Edwards / Clinton.

I was wrong on these two details (one major, one minor):

1. I thought McCain was done for and predicted Romney would get the Republican nomination.

2. I predicted Al Gore would endorse Obama (in the primaries).

In all, not a bad set of predictions for way back in July, 2007 when the traditional media couldn't shut up about Clinton v. Guiliani.

by WVaBlue 2008-11-15 05:33AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

I didn't think Obama would win. I am ecstatic to be wrong. Now I pray to God I am wrong about what he will accomplish in the next 4 years (although I voted for him b/c at a very minimum he will be a stop agent for the GOP policies).  Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong. The fact that he is bringing in alot of Clinton advisers makes me more optimistic.

by jrsygrl 2008-11-15 05:49AM | 0 recs
Me, too...

Hopefully now that he has the folks who learned from experience (remember those painful first two years of The Clinton Years), Obama will be able to steer clear of the mistakes that threw us off in the mid '90s. And hopefully this time, Dems will hold a united front in support of President Obama in a way they never did for President Clinton.

by atdleft 2008-11-15 06:25AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong, right?

I'm glad to see he's selecting Clinton staffers, too, because Bill really knew how to recruit the best and brightest.  Now if Hillary would only accept the SoS job, I'll be whoopin', hollerin' and jumpin' up and down!

by Spiffarino 2008-11-15 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

by desmoinesdem 2008-11-15 06:01AM | 0 recs
i was wrong at just about everything.

except i knew mccain would pick palin.

by canadian gal 2008-11-15 06:19AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong?

In June of 2007 I posted a diary here on how Iowa effects New Hampshire.  In it I argued that national polling was irrelevent before the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries.  

I was right about that.

I also included in that diary a model of how much bounce a candidate would get from winning Iowa.  The day before the New Hampshire primary the  model appeared to work perfectly.  

And then it didn't - Hillary came back in the last 36 hours and won New Hampshire.  The compression of time between Iowa and New Hampshire actually worked against Obama, not for him, something I completely misread.

I was also wrong in predicting that Clinton would win by at least 10 in Indiana.  I was wrong in thinking that Obama could not come back from losses in New Hampshire and Nevada.

In March after the Maryland primaries I wrote a projection of the popular vote at Openleft.  I was close, and predicted the turnout in Pennsylvania and Indiana pretty closely.  I completely missed the turnout in North Carolina, though.

I was pretty close to right in predicting the bounces from the conventions, but did underestimated the effect of delaying the GOP convention until after Labor Day.

I was wrong about North Carolina on election day.  Obama's win there strikes me as something of great significance, and something that none of the other potential nominees would have been able to pull off.

Finally, and most importantly, I was wrong about the charachter of John Edwards.  

by fladem 2008-11-15 06:38AM | 0 recs
i don't know this diarist is talking about but

Iowa Dem picked up 2 senate seats and 3 house seats. D/R senate 32/18 (30/20, House 56/44 (53/47). What's the beef???

by FLS 2008-11-15 06:44AM | 0 recs
should have been more

The GOP was defending six open Senate seats. We should have had a net gain of three or four.

We had some very strong House candidates who fell short and some incumbents who were not considered endangered who lost or almost lost. We should have had a net gain of four to six House seats.

We lost seats that even the GOP had written off before the election. The "drop-off" appears to have been much bigger this year than in 2004 (the number of people who voted for Obama but did not cast a vote in the statehouse races).

by desmoinesdem 2008-11-15 07:26AM | 0 recs

I only predicted a 15 seat gain for the Democrats as I didn't see very many pickup opportunities.

So +20-22 will actually be pretty good, but less than almost everyone else's predictions.

by esconded 2008-11-15 07:00AM | 0 recs
Most got things wrong, way wrong.

Where to begin?

Well, first of all I thought Evan Bayh and Mark Warner would run for President. I thought Hillary was going to be the nominee all of last year.

I thought Obama would far out-poll Clinton among African-Americans in the early polls (before the vote in SC). Boy was I wrong.

I thought Obama would have done better with Hispanics against Clinton.

I thought it would be another year supporting a Dem loser (in the general) that I liked on issues, but wasn't too impressed with. Little did I know we'd hit the mother load with the skinny kid with the funny name.

On Super Tuesday (Dem primary), after seeing the early exit polls and considering the strengths of Obama and Clinton in those state, as well as the states to come, I knew Obama had already won the nomination. Even when California came in for Clinton, I knew she was screwed for the next 12 contests.

I thought it would be impossible for Obama to prove himself in such short time. I thought he needed to wait some time, not to take his turn in line, but to better convince a skeptical white electorate that he was ready.

I thought Obama could give a good speech (2004), and was fresh as a Senator. I thought the luster would wear off, and wouldn't like the real Obama. Little did I know he was incredibly thoughtful, steady, knowledgeable, and incredibly respectful of all of his opponents.

I thought Republicans would succeed at painting Obama as an angry black man, and that they would fan fake outrage at benign comments from African-Americans. I feared a prominent black or two would say something like "We're taking the country over" and ruin Obama's chances, but everybody was so disciplined not to mess it up (except Jeremiah Wright and Jesse Jackson, who was infatuated with Obama's nut sack). Who's got the bigger balls now?

I was naive enough to think Mississippi would be close. Mark my words, MS is close to being black majority, within a couple decades, and it will be amazing to see all the racist whites deal with a black governor one day. I guess I should have expected the deep south to become even MORE polarized racially at the ballot box. Eslewhere in America, Obama did better among whites than Kerry or Gore. Not in LA, MS, AL, or SC. Check out Jena, LA, home of the Jena 6. Whites resent black people when they have the numbers.

I thought McCain would win Indiana by double digits. I thought we'd lose Nevada (until the registration info changed my mind), Florida, and Missouri. I thought it was too early for my home state of North Carolina to go blue. I thought we would win Ohio big due to free trade.

I thought Sarah Palin's pick was the most insulting gimmick ever pulled in modern political history. I never saw that coming, but McCain did leave his disabled first wife for a wealthy woman 20 years his junior. Maybe this pick wasn't so crazy after all. With the help of Viagra, at least he was able to "salute" thinking of his running mate.

I actually thought we would get rid of at least one of the corrupt Cuban-American republicans in Miami. We went 0 for 3.

I thought we'd get 59 Senators. Not sure if we did this or not yet. I was happy with picking up 10 seats in the House, not really believing we'd win 30+ like some said. We've got more seats than Republicans have had in a long long time.

I used to like McCain as a person. I never thought I'd see him argue that his campaign's dirty tricks were anything otherwise. He actually defended the add suggesting Obama wanted to teach sex ed to kindergarteners. I will never respect McCain again, no matter how 'bipartisan' he could be in the Senate.

I thought Osama bin Laden would ruin the campaign again. Instead, Wall Street sealed the deal.

Lastly, I never thought I'd be hitting a site called fivethirtyeight.com every hour for 5 months. Nate Silver is da man!

by fsugrad2005 2008-11-15 07:19AM | 0 recs
What did I get wrong, right?
We would win the Georgia Senate seat outright!
Obama would be "The TEFLON Candidate" and nothing  McSame, Painlin, 527s and Repigs would throw at him could stick!
by eddieb 2008-11-15 07:49AM | 0 recs
Re: What did I get wrong, right?
Stevensen would lose by a landslide in Alaska. Boy was I wrong about the Repiglicans attitudes towards convicted Felons!
by eddieb 2008-11-15 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

I was absolutely certain that Wesley Clark would be the V.P. nominee, up until the Face the Nation interview.  And this wasn't residual Clarkism from 2004 (I was a Dean person).  Not that I'm unhappy with Biden--I'm not--just thought Obama would not choose someone else from Capitol Hill.

I knew Barack would get over 350 electoral votes.

I was surprised Missouri was as close as it was.

Thought this was the year for Dan Seals in IL-10.

by rayspace 2008-11-15 08:14AM | 0 recs
Dan Seals

I was amazed and very disappointed that Seals didn't win that race. He was a great candidate, but I guess the incumbent GOPer wasn't quite enough of a jerk to cause the voters to pull a different lever. Close though.

by Spiffarino 2008-11-15 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

Obama wouldn't run for President in '08 (back around '06)

Obama would win Missouri and Georgia

Mark Warner would run in '08

Palin would be dropped from the ticket because she's so damn stupid (there was one point where i was pretty sure)

Obama would win a Nebraska electoral vote

Georgia senate race would go into a runoff

The primaries were essentially over after super tuesday

Obama would have no trouble with Jewish voters

by BlueGAinDC 2008-11-15 08:19AM | 0 recs
primaries were NOT over after Super Tues

I don't know how you view that as something you were right about.

In many years one candidate steamrolls following Super Tuesday, but this spring it was very competitive (despite Obama's small pledged delegate lead).

by desmoinesdem 2008-11-15 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: primaries were NOT over after Super Tues

Regardless of whether or not the races were competitive after super tuesday (which most were not), super tuesday decided the race.

Clinton needed a strong advantage from super tuesday to be competitive, and she didnt get that.

I don't mean to go back to the primary wars, but I just disagree with the idea that clinton had a chance to come back.

She just didn't. She won where she needed to post super tuesday, and it wasn't enough.

All I was saying is that my prediction was that how each candidate did on supertuesday would determine the outcome, and i think obama's overperformance then was what won him the nomination.

by BlueGAinDC 2008-11-20 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong, right?

1. Obama 52-46 over McRage (I'm giving myself some leeway here because nobody said anything about decimals).

And now, teh wrongness:

1. NC will stay Republican
I based this prediction on fundie turnout. Wrong, wrong, ever so wrong. My friend who is a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian said the GOTV in the churches never materialized. In 2004 the churches mobilized heavily for Bush. Not this year. No excitement for McSame at all, not even with Palin on the ticket. Bush was their Pope; McCain, wasn't even a deacon.

2. North Dakota goes blue!
No, but closer than you might'a thunk. Maybe 2012.

3. Indiana close, but stays GOP
Never been more happy to be wrong in my life. Perry county - where my family's from and where I lived for a while - is registered 50-50 Dems and Reps. It went for Obama 2 to 1!!

by Spiffarino 2008-11-15 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? Right?


It would be close.

Obama would have trouble with Hispanics.

Obama would have a harder time with non-black working class voters than Kerry.

Obama would not change the map.

Obama's turnout would only make a difference if it were close.

The Republicans would go hard negative early to define Obama.

The Republicans would run a competent GOTV operation.

The press would turn on Obama in the general.

Obama would run a moderate to conservative administration.


It was Obama's to lose.

Skipping public financing was smart.

Turnout would fall short of expectations.

Obama would not have much coattails.

I would be elated if Obama won, despite my misgivings.

Obama would reassemble a Clinton administration.

by souvarine 2008-11-15 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? Right?

I would agree except for the coattails. They weren't long enough to overcome strong incumbents, but then 2006 took out most of the low-hanging fruit. Let's face it, there weren't many left to grab.

On the other hand, in state and local races where Obama had a clear majority, many incumbent GOPers were given the boot. And that, my good friend, is how you build a strong Democratic party from the ground up!


by Spiffarino 2008-11-15 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? Right?

I'm basing the coattails on what desmoinesdem mentions in Iowa statehouse races and from the results I've seen where the local Democratic candidate outperformed Obama. I think it is clear that we did not win as many House races as we expected, and too many competitive Senate races were squeakers though thankfully appear to be going our way.

I should also say that it was smart for Obama to run his own field, given his funding advantage and the unfortunately dis-functional state party field operations after four years of Dean's 50 state program. But the cost was lower effectiveness in down-ballot races, even in states like Iowa with their excellent local field operation.

by souvarine 2008-11-15 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? Right?

I think McCain's rethoric about split government in the last days also scared some people off to go straight ticket. this happened late in the campaign (last 2-3 weeks)so there wasn't enough polling on local races to reflect any changes since most were focused on the GE.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-15 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? Right?

So, your prediction was that Obama wouldn't change the map, couldn't get Hispanics or working-class whites to vote for him, but that it was his to lose?

by Brannon 2008-11-15 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? Right?

"Have trouble with" does not mean "couldn't get Hispanics or working-class whites to vote for him", but Obama never had the trouble with Hispanics in the general that he had in the primary.

I expected the election to be close and fought in the same states its been fought in for the past four cycles, and ultimately that his field operation would barely carry him over the top. I thought Obama had a chance to win VA, but he also won NC and IN, to me that is changing the map.

by souvarine 2008-11-15 05:03PM | 0 recs
My GE predictions

I called the presidential race fairly well. Got the EV exactly right, including NE-02, but mixed up Missouri and Indiana.  I called the popular vote at 53.5-45.5, and it's currently 52.7-46.0, so I was off by 1.3%

For the Senate, I called Franken and Begich, and got everything else right, including the Georgia runoff.  Looks like I'll have it exactly or be off by one.

I really screwed up the House, where we underperformed.  I called it 267-168, which includes the likely outcomes of the Louisiana runoffs.  I actually miscalled 15 races both ways, so it balanced at 7 Dems too many. Here's what I got wrong: Young, both the Diaz-Balarts, Kirk, Boyda, Madia-Paulsen, Cazayoux, Kravotil-Harris, Terry, Stender-Lance, Kanjorski, Nye, Perriello, and Reichert. Lots of surprises in that list.

by bpfish 2008-11-15 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right


1.  I was braced for a major October surprise, there was nothing except his aunt's immigration status.

2.  I never thought he would win Florida and Ohio

3.  I thought he would win the NV caucus and TX primaries


1.  John Edwards - phony

2.  Joe Biden - VP

by Mocha Dem 2008-11-15 10:14AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

Well they did bill ayers in OCT.. not exactly a surprise though heh.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-15 11:05AM | 0 recs

Here are mine in no particular chronological order.

1- Obama winning north dakota in the primaries (or was it south? the last primary states)
2- Clinton was not vet for VP
3- Republicans would get no or little bounce after their convention (they got one for 2 weeks and incidentally the markets collapsed as their bounce was collapsing giving the narrative that the markets saved obama!! hooray for journalism)
4- Obama might lose some of the debates
5-Palin would make a big gaff at VP debate (at least one that media would fixate on).
6- Dem convention risked being all about the Clintons (boy that stadium speech blew everything away from the memory, except maybe Michele's speech and bills too)
7- Polls were undercutting Obama's numbers.. turned out they were quite spot on (when averaged) in most cases. Nate silver being the gold standard.

8- Turn out would be 145mil (I have to admit i pulled that out of my ass without any regard to past data)
9-Believed (and hoped) strongly that Kathleen sebelius would be selected as VP.

1- Obama would win big, 350+ EV at least.
2- Obama would win VA and NC, I was iffy about IN and thought obama would win Missouri (which is prob wrong now)
3-PV vote margin of 8, close enough! (53-46 right now)
4- 58 senators including holy joe, close again!
5- 25 house seats, lot more realistic than some predictions
6-Clinton would not be chosen as VP
7-Obama had the election locked up after he disawoed Jeremiah Wright. since I knew lots of people were going to have a problem with him as his so called mentor in general. That was I thought was his only path to lose.
8-Obama would win PA BIG despite what Rendel and Chris "Scranton" Mathews spouted 24/7.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-15 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Mine:
There would be NO or very little Bradly effect. I found it was all a media creation once I started researching into the subject. and US is WAY different than it was 3 decades ago.
by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-15 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

Things I got wrong:

* I thought Obama would eke out a win in Missouri and, maybe even Montana, in the general.

* I thought Prop 8 would fail.

* I thought Obama would win NH in the primary.

* I figured the Dem primary would be over much sooner.

Things I got right:

* I called McCain getting the Rep nomination even when he was left for dead, mostly based on the recognition that Reps love to elect the guy who's "next in line."

* I called Obama winning the Dem nomination. As early as fall 2007, it was feeling like a McCain-Obama race to me.

* I called Obama winning the general (and on election night I almost nailed his popular vote spread, predicting 6.5%).

Things I'm not sure about:

* I thought Obama would win in a landslide, but frankly, I'm not sure what determines a landslide in a pres. election. His pop. vote spread was only 6.1% (no), but EV spread is 192 (?). Anybody know was the consensus is on the definition?

by abrxas 2008-11-15 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

His Pop Vote spread is 6.7 actually and is growing with the leftover counts.Also he got the most popular for the dems since LBJ 44 years ago and ONLY LBJ and obama got 52%+ of the vote for the dems since WWII! so as far as PV is concerned it is a landslide. for EV it was very close to a  traditional definition of a landslide which is 375+ EV. see here for the historical comparison of the size of his win by a conservative commentator.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazin e/nj_20081115_1043.php

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-15 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

After Iowa I thought Obama would win NH and, if necessary, spin that into one or two more wins in order to knock Hillary out of the primaries. But, if that happened, I thought it was pretty much 50-50 whether Edwards or Obama would get the nomination.

So, yeah... I was wrong about that.

But my electoral prediction was pretty solid. My only mistake was in predicting that Missouri would go for Obama. I predicted that we would get 59 senate seats plus the run-off in Georgia (which still looks possibly). I predicted a 20 seat pick-up in the House.

Of course, in reality, that was just me putting a lot off faith in 538's numbers plus the anticipation that the ground game in Indiana would shift things and that Missouri wouldn't lose its bell-wether status. Ah well.

by Justin Alexander 2008-11-15 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? What did you get right

Well, I've been an Obama supporter since '04, so this election certainly felt great.

When everyone else was hyperventilating, I totally called that Palin would be a drag on the campaign.

I was also right that all of this nonsense about the Jewish vote suddenly going for the GOP was a bunch of, well, nonsense.

I was wrong about Indiana - I thought there was no chance for IN to go Blue because it's so much more conservative than Ohio.

I was wrong about Edwards - I had blown off the rumors for so long defending him, and I'm still extremely disappointed that I put my neck out there for him; I was never a supporter of his in the primary (see: Obama supporter since '04) but I've always liked him.

Honestly, I'm glad to see that I was wrong about electoral shenanigans.  After the disasters of '00 and '04, I had feared that it would continue, but it seems like most places generally did well this time.  No election is perfect and I understand a lot of folks are concerned about how odd the Alaskan election was, but in general this went very well.

by auronrenouille 2008-11-15 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong?


I thought Hillary would be the nominee and Obama the VP pick
I thought Romney would be the republican nominee
I thought that there would be a lot more voter suppression (re: Ohio 2004, FL 2000)

I didn't think Obama would pick Hillary for VP (although I would not have been unhappy if he had)
I thought the Palin pick would move over any Hillary supporters back over into Obama's side (if they hadn't already migrated) and become very vocal and loud Obama supporters
I knew that Bill & Hillary would be behind Obama
I knew that once Palin was picked, the republican ticket was NOT going to run on the issues anymore, but red-meat.
I thought that Obama would win by a huge margin both in popular vote & EV
I thought that the old issues of Ayers and Wright, which were played out on national TV during the primaries, would not have the same impact during the GE.  The shock value was gone by that time
I knew that if economy was the number 1 issue, Obama would win hands-down with no problems

That said, I still was biting my nails until Ohio was called for Obama - I knew it was over then.  

by colebiancardi 2008-11-15 03:07PM | 0 recs
Re: What did you get wrong? get right?

Very good diary, one of the most interesting concepts I've seen.

I feel fortunate to have made a profit on both the primaries and general election, since I certainly got plenty wrong.

I'll alternate:

* Right -- John Edwards, who I supported in 2004 and early this year, would be far less of a factor in 2008, not even close to the top two, regardless of how he fared in Iowa

* Wrong -- Hillary had enough foundational advantage through the women's vote and older voters to hold off Obama for the nomination

* Right -- in 2007 I posted that Obama had so much star power and enthusiastic supporters that he was probably understated in polling, and those numbers would soar once actual voting commenced

* Wrong -- I didn't think that star power would translate to 90+% among blacks against Hillary, and in the spring I partially fell for the nonsense that Hispanics wouldn't fully support a black candidate

* Right -- Hillary would win New Hampshire, courtesy of long term support. I always downplay late surges

* Wrong -- I was caught up with a family medical situation at the time, and didn't have any idea Hillary and Mark Penn were dense enough to essentially bypass all the par 3 caucuses and primaries. So after Super Tuesday I briefly still thought Hillary was in good shape

* Right -- I correctly wagered that Obama's primary surge was misapplied on Intrade in states like California and Ohio, where his percentage of success was severely lower than speculators wanted to believe

* Wrong -- I tried the same theory in the general election and missed narrowly on Indiana and North Carolina, wagering on McCain. I did win big on McCain in West Virginia and Georgia at bargain rates, but losing two state wagers still stings. I can't remember the last statewide wager I lost.

* Right -- Even when sites like 538 were briefly trying to pretend McCain was the legit favorite in September, I played Obama four times on Intrade, including at nice underdog rate. No chance the situational advantage toward Democrats in 2008 was that flimsy, flicked aside by momentum coming out of a convention.

* Wrong -- From 2006 through the bulk of 2008 I always believed the popular vote would be relatively close, within 2-4 points, since open races are historically tight. Not until the economic collapse did I begin to accept we could win handily, but I still expected closer to 5 than 7.

* Right -- My best assertion throughout 2008 was the extended primary was an overwhelming benefit. I'm still astonished it was handicapped as anything but that. Rachel Maddow whined for months that, "McCain is the beneficiary...it makes him the November favorite, blah blah, blah."

* Wrong -- I thought Obama would fare better among white women, losing 53-46. I expected a 2-4 point deficit

* Right -- Alaska and Georgia always overstate Democrats in pre-election polling. I've posted that dozens of times over the years including frequently this year. Imagine my hilarity when those two states, among all, were shouted at for supposedly spitting out suspicious results. Newsflash: they are only suspicious if you are dense enough to take their polling margins at face value without understanding the historical failures of Alaska and Georgia polling.

* Wrong -- I thought Reverend Wright would be oft exploited by the GOP during the fall campaign

* Right -- Even though I supported Hillary I always said Obama could win Florida, even when Obama's earliest supporters, including many native Floridians, were insisting he could not. That state is a classic swing state with roughly 21% liberals and 33% conservatives, mirroring the nation. That aspect easily trumps negative subjectivity stemming from 2000 and 2004.

* Wrong -- I didn't think the Party ID edge would be as wide as it turned out, 39-32. My Excel model used +5 for months and I reluctantly moved it up to +6 in the final few days.

Lastly, here's something RIGHT toward 2010. We need to prioritize governorships. That's still not properly understood by the netroots. There is too damn much emphasis on the senate on sites like this. Governorships may be less sexy, and not many governors are high profile like senators, but they build the foundation of the party. In 2010 the dynamic may be quite similar to 2002, when a lousy economy forced voters to reject the recent party holding the governor's mansion, if an incumbent was not there to state his/her case. Many big states are vulnerable on our end if that holds up again, like Michigan and Pennsylvania.  

by Gary Kilbride 2008-11-15 08:25PM | 0 recs
I called the Oregon Senate Race

When Smith was way ahead, based on county by county comparisons to 2004.  I said it was a "mathematical crime" that the AP hadn't called the race.  :-)

by BPK80 2008-11-16 08:41AM | 0 recs
PA not a swing state


  • I knew PA wouldn't be close despite the effort put in by McCain-Palin here.
  • Nevada would go blue
  • Shays would lose in CT


  • I had visions of a huge House wave (28+) that didn't happen, despite some nice pickups.
  • Montana possibly not going for McCain
  • Hopes for Debbie Cook in CA and Tom Allen in ME

by KB 2008-11-17 04:34AM | 0 recs


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