Criticism/Self-Criticism Session

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Everyone should take responsibility for their pre-election predictions, so here's my mea culpas:

It's going to be close…

OK, I got that right, but I wasn't exactly going out on a limb there.

…but I think Kerry is going to take it. Which surprises me, since I've been predicting a Bush victory all year.

Should've stuck with your first thought, Walker.

Nader won't top 1%

Got that right.

Badnarik will not get more than 300,000 votes.

Looks like he's just under 400,000. My usually reliable rule of thumb for predicting Libertarian vote totals—find the lowest figure being publicly predicted within the party, then go lower—has failed me.

I can console myself by reflecting on all the other predictions that went awry. It wasn't a dead heat. It wasn't a landslide either. Young people didn't turn out in droves. Ohio did not become another Florida. Florida did not become another Florida. There was no electoral/popular split. And Badnarik didn't get to play spoiler.

NEXT: Temperance in All Things, Including Voting

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  1. I find it a little telling that places like CNN give Nader’s 400,000 votes a “1%” rating, but leave Badnarik off of their list. If you’re going to round less than 0.4% up to 1, you could at least mention the other guy who got about the same amount.

  2. I predicted a Kerry victory, but not on the basis of any last-minute poll data. Basically, I factored in increased immigration and the fact that few Gore voters were likely to vote for Bush and concluded that the sheer demographics of the situation favored Kerry. But what seems to have happened is that the gay marriage issue drove the Religious Right to the polls in larger-than-normal numbers, especially in key states like Ohio.

  3. I thought Ohio would be more hung up than it turned out to be.
    That was about my only prediction.

  4. Main reason for Kerry’s concession: Bush 43 is the first to win an outright majority of the national popular vote since 1988 (“coincidentally,” Bush 41). I’m not a Bush voter, but that looks mighty like a mandate to me.

  5. Jesse:

    Let me get the ball rolling: I predicted [gulp] that Badnarik would poll between 3 and 7%…

    What was I thinking???

  6. Like I was saying on Monday, in the collective psyche of the American electorate, fear will typically win out over all other emotions when it’s time to pull the lever. Just look at how easily all of the anti-gay amendments passed. The motto of this country should be changed to timor vincit omnia

  7. To be fair, the young did turn out in larger-than-usual numbers, but so did everyone else, thereby keeping the youth vote percentage fixed. The final tally should be interesting.

    Anon

  8. I think my only bad prediction was yesterday afternoon when I thought Kerry had it… damned exit polls:(

  9. I’m curious about “None of These Candidates.” Is that a write in, or are those people who voted but did not indicate a preference in the Presidential race?

  10. The exit polls were bullshit and are just one more indicator of how irrelevant the mainstream media of Tom Brokaw has become. I could respect them a lot more if they had just come right and said “Kerry’s our boy”.

  11. I’m curious about “None of These Candidates.” Is that a write in, or are those people who voted but did not indicate a preference in the Presidential race?

    Nevada has a “none of the above” option; I assume it’s that.

  12. TWC: To be fair, the mainstream media didn’t publicize those exit polls. Us pajama people did.

    The biggest offender was Drudge, and I don’t think anyone believes he’s for Kerry.

  13. Thank God there was only one fool on H&R:

    Bush 53 Kerry 45 Other(mostly Nader) 3

    …and in a spasm of exuberance

    Bush 57 Kerry 39 Other 4

    Kinda childish, I think: I just found Kerry a thoroughly unappealing candidate, and supposed others would too. And I have no trace of Bush-aversion. Not the right instincts, I guess.

  14. At the local Republican Party celebration last night one of only two losing candidates took his speaking time to lead those assembled in singing “God Bless America”. If you think that is corny beyond belief and if you don’t know the words well enough to have done the same, then you probably don’t understand why Kerry lost. Read Kristof in the NYT today; he knows.

  15. I predicted a Kerry win because I thought turnout would be high and, frankly, people would wake up to Bush being a bumbler.

    I better take Should conservatives support Kerry? down before I get called an enemy of the state.

    I haven’t see any mention of what happens in ’08 and beyond vis-a-vis Bush. Will he be able to repeal the 22nd Amendment? After all, no one else knows how to fight the Global War on Terror.

    If he can’t do that, will it be Jeb in ’08 and ’12, passing it on to son George P. in ’16 and ’20?

    I also think that after any initial attempts by the Dems to show solidarity things are going to get really ugly.

    First, documentation showing widespread election fraud is going to come out, perhaps along with a Mikey Moore movie. Perhaps hearings will be held.

    And, the incompetent way in which the Iraq war has been handled will get a lot more attention, perhaps also resulting in hearings.

    Eventually, the perception might reach the tipping point that Bush is a liability for the country and the GOP.

  16. Jesse,

    I have to give you credit for being right on Nader and somewhat close on Badnarik. When you said less than 300,000 I went into a couple insomnia induced rants on here. I had predicted that Nader would poll about 1% on the ballots he was on, equalling about 0.5% of overall popular vote or 500K+ but under 1 million,. IIRC I had predicted Badnarik at 500-750K. After all the write-in ballots in CA and other Nader write-in states and asbentee ballots are tallied, I think Badnarik around 380K and Nader 400K+

  17. “Main reason for Kerry’s concession: Bush 43 is the first to win an outright majority of the national popular vote since 1988 (“coincidentally,” Bush 41). I’m not a Bush voter, but that looks mighty like a mandate to me.”

    Simple math:
    Perot ’92
    Perot ’96
    Nader ’00

  18. After some more deep pondering, I do recall myself predicting Bush would lose for reasons similar to Lonewacko’s thoughts above.
    Plus I thought there would be more of an historical echo with Adams, father and son: both pseudo-aristocratic pricks, each getting one term.
    I would have been right had Kerry been more like Andrew Jackson: a man of the people plus the farthest thing from a flip-flopper.

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