Doctors of Prognostication Roll the Dice on November Outcomes

If you are a weather nut, you watch The Weather Channel or the local weather reports and absorb the five-day forecast like they were delivered on stone tablets and brought down from Mount Sinai. Of course, if you are really paying attention you will know that there is a low probability that the prediction is remotely close to what is actually going to happen. The clue is when you hear “partly cloudy” or “partly sunny” (isn’t that the same thing?) what they are saying is “we really don’t know what is going to happen.”

Image courtesy of NY Times

Now, if you are a political junkie, you are watching the network political shows or CNN with its color-coded maps showing the jump-ball races around the country that may tilt the balance of power in Congress and in state houses around the country. And there is a whole industry dedicated to making predictions and commenting on those predictions and commenting on that commenting about those predictions. The clue in this business:  “this race is tightening….”

The reason why these races tighten within two weeks of the election is that until it is actually time to vote the only people who really care are the candidates and their campaigns and, of course, the media. People who do this for a living actually refer to this as a science (as in political science) just as meteorologists go to school for this and refer to their version of blind man’s bluff as a science. But a real science – like genetics – should be able to predict what is going to happen with some certainty, but weather and politics are the two things in life that people are absolutely certain about until the actual day arrives.

My Morrissey colleague Sean Findlen asked me last week if I wanted to get into a mid-term elections bracket to try and predict the winners on Nov. 2 in key races around the country. We tend to follow this stuff so I was game and printed out the list of 14 races to make my best guess.

Before I put pen to paper, though, I got to thinking about a woman who once worked in my office who won the NCAA March Madness tournament pool against 20 others. Her method? As a Russian native, she had never actually followed college basketball and had never heard of any of the tournament teams so she chose her picks based on what their uniforms looked like.

So Sean and I decided that rather than guess or just repeat the predictions of the frequently discredited pollsters and commentators we would come up with our own scientific methodology, a system so simple that if we are right on election day we will be the toast of the political world: We picked our choices out of a bowl.

This may not be as scientifically sound as the Ouija board, but if we’re right more than we are wrong then we will have elevated guessing to science status. So, here’s what the wheel of fortune (or misfortune) has determined as the sure-fire outcomes on November 2. Winners denoted in bold type.

Kentucky: U.S. Senate
Rand Paul (R)
Jack Conway (D)

Ohio: Governor
John Kasich (R)
Ted Strickland (D)

Colorado: Governor
Tom Tancredo (R)
John Hickenlooper (D)

West Virginia: U.S. Senate
John Raese (R)
Joe Manchin (D)

Maine: Governor
Paul LePage (R)
Libby Mitchell (D)
Eliot Cutler (I)

Washington: Senate
Dino Rossi (R)
Patty Murray (D)

Florida: Governor
Rick Scott (R)
Alex Sink (D)

California: U.S. Senate
Carly Fiorina (R)
Barbara Boxer (D)

California: Governor
Meg Whitman (R)
Gerry Brown (D)

Nevada: U.S. Senate
Sharron Angle (R)
Harry Reid (D)

Connecticut: U.S. Senate
Linda McMahon (R)
Richard Blumenthal (D)

Delaware: U.S. Senate
Christine O’Donnell (R)
Chris Coons (D)

Alaska: U.S. Senate
Joe Miller (R)
Scott McAdams (D)
Lisa Murkowski (I)

South Carolina: Governor
Nikki Haley (R)
Vincent Sheheen (D)

These predictions, oddly enough, will give the GOP the reins of power in the Congress if other races follow along these lines. And, of course, Sean and I will be the toast of Washington D.C. where we will charge future campaigns millions of dollars to teach them the ancient and highly mysterious Zen art, ah… I mean science, of political prognostication.

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One Response to Doctors of Prognostication Roll the Dice on November Outcomes

  1. seanfindlen says:

    OK. So I suppose to be transparent and all, I should post my personal picks for these races. Rather than basing these selections on pure chance, I called upon my considerable experience and political acumen to call the winners. In the same order as above, I announce the mid-term vanquishers: Paul, Kasich, Hickenlooper, Manchin, Cutler, Murray, Sink, Boxer, Brown, Reid, Blumenthal, Coons, Murkowski, and Haley. I invite the one person reading this to add your own picks here as well.

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