Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

How Accurate were Karl Rove’s ‘Fearless’ Predictions for 2013?

December 9, 2013  |  Politics

We have tracked Karl Rove’s predictions since June 2011. Going into 2013, Rove was 9-for-17 with his predictions (53% hit rate) with a paltry Yield of $0.76, resulting in an F grade. Recall that Yield is our way of calibrating predictions for ‘boldness’ — after all, predicting each day that the sun will rise tomorrow would result in a 100% hit rate but say little about a pundit’s ability. The Yield measures the average return on investment had you bet $1 of each of the pundit’s predictions, based on consensus odds at the time.

In a Wall Street Journal article on January 3 (link here), Rove published his ‘Fearless Forecast” for 2013, which included 11 predictions that we have been tracking. Based on where we stand today, here are the results:

Obama's approval rating will end the year below 53%MediumTRUE
Unemployment will stay at around 8%MediumFALSE
There will be more Democratic than Republican retirements in the House of RepresentativesMediumFALSE
The implementation of ObamaCare will be ragged and ugly and prove a political advantage to RepublicansMediumTRUE
There will be no grand bargain on the budgetMediumTRUE
The debt ceiling will be raised after Obama concedes to spending cutsMediumFALSE
Chris Christie will win New Jersey re-election handilyVery LowTRUE
Virginia gubernatorial race will be close (McAullife/Cuccinelli)MediumTRUE
Syria's Bashar Assad will be forced out of powerLowFALSE
Hugo Chavez will pass away in 2013LowTRUE
Fidel Castro will pass away in 2013MediumFALSE

Rove’s hit the nail on the head with his predictions on Obama’s approval rating and ObamaCare implementation, while he was way off on U.S. unemployment and House of Representative retirements. Overall, he turned in a solid performance, which lifted his overall Yield although his grade remains in F territory.

Final Tally

2013 Results: 6 Right, 5 Wrong (55% hit rate), $1.05 Yield, B Grade

Cumulative Results: 15 Right, 13 Wrong (54% hit rate), $0.88 Yield, F Grade

To see all of Karl Rove’s predictions or to make your own predictions on various political issues — including which will party will win the House and Senate in 2014 — visit our Politics master page.


McLaughlin Group on Individual Mandate, Rand Paul

November 3, 2013  |  Politics

Here is what the McLaughlin Group pundits predicted on this week’s show.

Will the individual healthcare mandate be delayed by one year?

Pat Buchanan: Yes

Eleanor Clift: No

Mort Zuckerman: Yes

Chris Matthews: No

John McLaughlin: Yes


Will Rand Paul be the 2016 GOP Presidential nominee?

Chris Matthews: Yes

Eleanor Clift: Yes

Mort Zuckerman: No


Make your own prediction on each of these items for a limited time in our Politics section.

McLaughlin Group: New Predictions on Syria

September 8, 2013  |  Politics

Only a few days left to make your own predictions on what’s going to happen (click here)

  • Susan Ferrechio (PT Grade: B): Syria resolution will not pass Congress
  • Guy Taylor: Syria resolution will not pass Congress but Obama will go ahead with strike anyways

Link to McLaughlin Group video here


Revisiting Predictions on Immigration Reform

September 3, 2013  |  Politics

On January 18, 2013, the McLaughlin Group pundits made predictions on whether ‘a bipartisan bill on immigration [would] be passed by Labor Day’. Here is what they said:

Eleanor Clift: Yes

Clarence Page: Yes

John McLaughlin: Yes

Pat Buchanan: No

Tim Carney: No

So, 3 of the 5 got it wrong.


Links below:

McLaughlin Group Transcript (1/18/13)

McLaughlin Group PunditTracker Profiles


Chris Matthews: Rand Paul will be 2016 GOP Nominee

August 9, 2013  |  Politics

“This is what I do for a living”

Link to Prediction

Link to Chris Matthews’ PT Profile, where you can make your own prediction on whether Paul will be the nominee or not

Rush Limbaugh: Chris Christie will run as Democrat in 2016

July 31, 2013  |  Politics

Limbaugh predicts that Christie will be the Democratic nominee for President in 2016. We have created a new PunditTracker profile for Rush and you can vote on this prediction now.

Link to article

Link to Limbaugh’s PunditTracker Profile (NEW!)

McLaughlin Group in Agreement: Weiner Will Resign

July 28, 2013  |  Politics

All the McLaughlin Group pundits agreed this week that Anthony Weiner would resign frmo the NYC mayoral race:

YouTube video (predictions at end)

Still a few days to make your own prediction on our Politics page!


New Political Predictions

July 26, 2013  |  Politics

Now open for voting:

Charles Krauthammer: Anthony Weiner will stay in NYC mayoral race and lose

Greg Valliere: Larry Summers will NOT be the next Fed Chair


If you are going to be wrong, be spectacularly wrong

July 24, 2013  |  Finance, Politics

UPDATE  (12/16/13): We have updated the S&P 500 prediction analysis based on current levels.

Apple’s stock is expected to rise today after the company surpassed consensus expectations in yesterday’s earnings report. Apple’s reports are quite the spectacle, driving the already frenzied CNBC network into a hyperbolic state. Each financial metric is dissected in real-time, usually with the assistance of financial analysts who presumably are also speed-readers, capable of offering deep insights only five minutes after the report’s release.

A comparable spectacle is the pundit hysteria going into each Apple release, with droves of analysts making predictions on how each product line fared over the past three months. Fortune catalogued all of this quarter’s analyst estimates in a post earlier this week.

What’s most striking about these estimates is just how clustered they were. Take the iPhone, which is Apple’s biggest value driver and arguably the most anticipated metric in the release. The consensus among the 30 Wall Street analysts was that Apple would sell 26.6 million iPhones, which was well shy of the 31.2 million that Apple actually reported. More interestingly, 17 of the 30 estimates were between 26-27 million, while 80% (24/30) were between 24-28 million. (Note: the full range was 23-30 million, which too failed to capture the actual result).

These ranges seem shockingly narrow for a global consumer technology product, particularly one in the volatile smartphone industry. After all, how can all of the analysts’ ‘proprietary channel checks’ yield the same (wrong) answer?

We don’t mean to single out Apple analysts, as most members of the financial pundit class seem to adhere to clustering as well. Consider the S&P 500 Forecasts issued by each investment bank at the beginning of each year. We catalogued three years worth of estimates made by six bulge bracket firms:

Annual S&P 500 Forecasts

Average (Banks)137813381543
Credit Suisse125013401550
Goldman Sachs145012501575
JP Morgan140014301580
Bank of America Merrill Lynch140013501600

Average Projected Rise9.9%6.4%8.2%
Actual Rise0.3%13.4%27.5%

The mean S&P estimate was considerably off-target each year: by +960 basis points in 2011, -700 basis points in 2012, and a whopping -1630 basis points so far this year. As with Apple, the clustering effect was very pronounced, with five of the six analyst predictions each year falling within a 100 point range (1350-1450 in 2011, 1250-1350 in 2012, and 1500-1600 in 2013) – ranges which failed to capture the actual result in every instance.

So what is behind the errant clustering? The biases of anchoring and recency are likely culprits, with analysts anchoring to a baseline (e.g. Apple management’s guidance, S&P’s current level) and extrapolating from recent trends. We believe career risk is also at play: as investor Joel Greenblatt put it, “It’s much safer to be wrong in a crowd than to risk being the only one to misread a situation that everyone else had pegged correctly.”

But how do we reconcile the incentive for pundits to not stray from the consensus – and thus minimize career risk – with the bombastic pundits that we all love to rail on? (See: this guy). Why aren’t they concerned about career risk? Well, here’s the catch:

In punditry, if you are going to be wrong, it pays to be spectacularly wrong.

We explain using the following matrix:

Reaction to outcomes by prediction type

Prediction TypeOutcome: CorrectOutcome: Incorrect
ContrarianSubdued PraisePink Slip
Wildly ContrarianHeroCelebrity

The first prediction type (“Consensus”) is greeted with minimal credit when correct and minimal blame when incorrect. As we discussed with the Apple analysts and S&P 500 forecasters, pundits focused on career preservation adhere to this ‘safety in numbers’ approach. The last prediction type (“Wildly Contrarian”) is typically made by pundits who crave media attention. Regardless of outcome, they are able to parlay their provocative predictions and media prowess into cash by writing books, hitting the speaking circuit, and developing a cult-like following. This is how One-Hit Wonders and Broken Clocks are born.

That leaves the middle prediction type, which we refer to as the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of punditry. These pundits are contrarian enough to create career risk for themselves but not contrarian enough to garner mainstream attention. Correct predictions are greeted with modest praise — say, a pat on the back from a few colleagues — while incorrect predictions draw intense scrutiny. Low reward, high risk.

Our hunch is that the best pundits are stuck in this Bermuda Triangle, quietly amassing first-rate track records but lacking a platform to reach a wider audience. Instead, our professional ranks and airwaves are cluttered with pundits who make Consensus and Wildly Contrarian predictions. Nate Silver is a rare exception, having made the leap from quant to superstar. We would argue that Silver was aided by the criticism leveled at him by conservatives, which created a false perception that his election predictions were wildly contrarian when they were in fact only moderately so.

PunditTracker aims to disrupt the prediction industry by offering a common platform for everyone – including yourself  — to make predictions. By leveling the playing field and holding everyone equally accountable, we strive to introduce a much-needed dose of meritocracy into the system.


Will George Zimmerman will be convicted of second degree murder?

July 10, 2013  |  Politics

Pat Buchanan said no. Make your final prediction now and we’ll grade you afterwards:

Link to make your prediction:

  1. Have a pundit you would like us to track? Or some general feedback on the site? Let us know!