Election Report Card

November 8, 2012  |  Politics

This is the first of a five-part election recap series.

After spending two years cataloging more than 150 election predictions made by various political pundits, now comes the fun part: report card time. 

Here is how the pundits fared, sorted by $1 Yield. For those new to the site, $1 Yield is the core metric we use to judge pundits; it measures the average payout (using consensus odds) had you placed $1 bets on each of the pundit’s calls. A yield of exactly $1.00, for instance, means the pundit’s predictions were no better or worse than the consensus view at the time. We have also included the boldest (most out-of-consensus) prognostication made by each pundit.

Pundit# Calls# Correct$1 YieldBoldest Call
Michael Tomasky32$2.07Obama wins & Democrats win Senate & Republicans win House
Steven Rattner22$1.88Obama wins (290+ electoral vote)
Eleanor Clift54$1.80Senate: 54 Democrats
Chris Matthews22$1.67Joe Manchin/Sherod Brown win
Michelle Goldberg22$1.59Obama wins
Mark Shields33$1.50Whoever wins Ohio wins the eleciton
Robert Reich11$1.27Democrats win Senate
Chris Cillizza64$0.94Senate: 51(D)-47(R)-2(I)
Howard Fineman21$0.85Republicans pick up 8+ Senate seats
Clarence Page21$0.83Obama wins (280)
Cokie Roberts21$0.83Obama wins (294)
Matthew Dowd21$0.83Obama wins (303)
Donna Brazile21$0.83Obama wins (313)
Ezra Klein21$0.83Obama wins (290 or 303)
Ronald Brownstein21$0.83Obama wins (288)
Melissa Harris Perry74$0.81Senate: 52(D)-46(R)-2(I)
Mort Zuckerman53$0.80Obama's Hispanic support falls by 30 points
Juan Williams84$0.71House: 231(R)-204(D)
Karl Rove104$0.64Akin will lose by largest margin in recent history
Bill O'Reilly73$0.62Romney wins New Hampshire
George Will52$0.59Romney wins (321)
Jim Cramer31$0.56Senate: 53(D), 45(R), 2(I)
Larry Sabato31$0.56Senate: 53(D)-47(R)
Paul Begala41$0.42Third-party candidate gets 7% of popular vote
Wayne Allyn Root112$0.22Romney wins popular vote by 5-7 points
Dick Morris172$0.19Romney wins by 4-8 percentage points
Pat Buchanan71$0.18Romney wins all 11 states of the confederacy
Ann Coulter20$0.00Romney wins (273+)
Bill Kristol10$0.00Romney wins
Charles Krauthammer10$0.00Romney wins
Glenn Beck20$0.00Romney wins (321)
John Heilemann10$0.00Election not declared on 11/7; Florida-style recounts
John McLaughlin40$0.00Obama loses Wisconsin
Larry Kudlow30$0.00Romney wins at least 52-48
Michael Barone20$0.00Romney wins (315)
Newt Gingrich40$0.00Romney: 53%+ of popular vote, 300+ electoral
Peggy Noonan10$0.00Romney wins
Rich Lowry20$0.00Akin loses, but by less than 5 points

Note: We are still waiting on a few more outcomes (e.g. final House tallies) and will update the data as these roll in.

While there were a handful of notable predictions that came true — which we will detail in an upcoming post — as a group the pundits performed woefully. Only 8 of the 38 pundits we tracked generated a yield higher than than $1.00. In other words, the majority of the pundits did worse than your “Average Joe.”

Average Pundit Performance (38 tracked)

Hit Rate (# correct calls divided by # calls made) = 41%

$1 Yield = $0.68

The rankings are largely a function of the pundit’s party affiliation, which is a sad commentary on the state of punditry. This is why keeping lifetime track records, as PunditTracker will do, will be critical as far as holding pundits accountable.


Coming up in the PT Election Series

Best & Worst Election Predictions

Worst Election Pundit

Nate Silver vs. Intrade

Updated Political Pundit Rankings




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