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Pundit Prediction Scorecard: Rating 25 election oracles

Posted by Mark Leccese  November 7, 2012 10:34 AM

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I compiled a list of pundit predictions the day before the election using Google searches, an article by Evan Hughes at The Awl, an article by Adam Pascik at New York Magazine, and The Washington Post Outlook’s Sixteenth Crystal Ball Contest.

A pundit needed to predict the number of electoral votes for each candidate — not just a win or a loss — to be included in this scorecard. My deadline for predictions was the night before the election.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, no winner had been declared in Florida. Obama led Romney by 47,000 votes out of 8.3 million cast.

Since the pundits made their predictions based on all 50 states, for the purposes of this scorecard I need to put Florida’s 29 electors voters into either Obama’s column or Romney’s column. Obama holds a lead in Florida, so I’m putting those votes in his column only for the purposes of this scorecard.

OBAMA: 332 Electoral College votes
ROMNEY: 206 Electoral College votes

Not one of the 25 pundits got it exactly right, but some came close and some appeared to have made their predictions by examining chicken bones and the position of the stars. Here are the results, which I have sorted into categories.

DELUSIONAL (wrong by more than 100 electoral votes)

Dick Morris: “On The Hill” column in The Hill, Oct. 30: Romney 325 (wrong by 119)

George Will, on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Nov. 4.: Romney 321 (wrong by 115)

Glenn Beck,, Nov. 5: Romney 321 (wrong by 115)

Michael Barone, Washington Examiner, Nov. 2: Romney 315 (wrong by 109)

Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” Nov. 3: Obama 440 (wrong by 108)

Newt Gingrich, on FoxNews, Oct. 25: Romney “300 plus” (wrong by 100 "plus")

NOT EVEN CLOSE (wrong by 50-99 electoral votes)

Larry O’Connor, Editor-in-Chief at Breitbart.TV, Nov. 5: Romney 295 (wrong by 89)

Kevin Eder, Media Research Center, Nov. 4: Romney 281 (wrong by 75)

Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 31: Romney 279, “probably more” (wrong by 73 and “probably more”)

David Wiegel, political reporter,, Nov. 4: Romney 276 (wrong by 70)

Dean Chambers,, Nov. 5: Romney 275 (wrong by 69)

Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary under George W. Bush and CNN analyst, Nov. 4: Romney 271 (wrong by 65)

Ross Douthat, columnist, New York Times, Nov. 5: Obama 271 (wrong by 61)

Chris Cillizza, Washington Post, Nov. 3. Obama 277 (wrong by 55)

Philip Klein, Washington Examiner, Nov. 5: Obama 277 (wrong by 55)

PRETTY GOOD CALL (wrong by 26 to 50 electoral votes)

Ron Brownstein, “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Nov. 4.: Obama 288 (wrong by 44)

Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC, Nov. 3: Obama 290 (wrong by 42)

Christina Bellantoni, politics editor at PBS NewsHour, Nov. 3: Obama 290 (wrong by 42)

Juan Williams, FoxNews, Nov. 3: Obama 290 (wrong by 42)

Larry Sabado, Crystal Ball Blog, Nov. 5: Obama 290 (wrong by 42)

Reid Wilson, editor, The National Journal's "Hotline," Nov. 3: Obama 294 (wrong by 38)

GOT 49 STATES RIGHT AND COULD GET 50 (gave Florida to Romney)

Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect, Nov. 4: Obama: 303 (wrong by 29)

John Cassidy, The New Yorker, Nov. 5, Obama 303 (wrong by 29)

Jonathan Chait, political columnist, New York Magazine, Nov: 5 Obama 303 (wrong by 29)

NAILED IT (wrong by fewer than 25 electoral)

Sam Wang, Princeton Election Consortium, Nov. 5: Obama 309 (wrong by 23)

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight blog, New York Times, Nov. 5: Obama 314 (wrong by 18)

Follow @mleccese on Twitter.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Mark Leccese, a journalism professor at Emerson College, covered Massachusetts politics, business and the arts for more than 25 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and magazine writer. He has More »

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