2016 Election Prediction Contest results November 20, 2016 11:17 AM   Subscribe

Back in January, on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, I set up an election prediction contest for you fine folks, and got 74 ballots in response. Nearly ten months (and ten million comments) later, the results are in: congratulations to Cash4Lead, for his remarkably far-sighted prediction of the winners of Iowa, New Hampshire, Super Tuesday, the nominations, the House majority, and even Clinton's VP pick! A $50 donation to the charity of your choice is yours. Oodles more analysis of the collective wisdom inside

First, the methodology. I started by tallying the number of correct predictions (out of nine) for the Democratic and Republican winners for Iowa, New Hampshire, Super Tuesday, the nomination, and the general election. This produced a three-way tie between octothorpe, Drinky Die, and Cash4Lead, who nailed the first eight contests but all thought Clinton would win the presidency.

The Congress/VP tiebreaker produced another tie: while Drinky Die got the House and Senate right, Cash4Lead got the House and Clinton's VP pick. In my judgment, the much higher difficulty of the VP call (only two MeFites guessed Kaine) and the strength of his detailed analysis (including Clinton losing "a formerly reliable Blue state from the upper Midwest") tips the balance to Cash4Lead.

Congratulations again, and post here or Memail me the charity you'd like your prize to go to!

Some honorable mentions:
  • If you count the razor-thin Iowa result as a mulligan for Sanders, two other MeFites had a perfect slate up until the general election: Automocar and mightygodking.
  • While double block and bleed missed both winners in Iowa, he got the rest of the race right, including Trump's victory and GOP control of both houses.
  • Other pessimists jaded realists who predicted a Trump presidency: FJT (who saw a Sanders vs. Trump race) and Cookiebastard (who saw a consistent Clinton vs. Trump race).
  • Others who foresaw a Clinton vs. Trump contest: 0xFCAF, Rangi, ArbitraryandCapricious, jeather, slmorri, kimberussel, sallybrown, Etrigan, Huffy Puff, Fizz, sebmojo, Pink Moose
Final stats:
For the Democratic nomination — 84% Clinton ... 15% Sanders ... <1>a spreadsheet of the results for your perusal.
posted by Rhaomi to MetaFilter-Related at 11:17 AM (14 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

A quick mod note - this is not the place to argue about the substance of any of these events. The current election thread is available for that. Thanks!
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:18 AM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Whoops, the last part of the post got borked by a less-than-or-equal-to sign. Here it is:
Final stats:
For the Democratic nomination — 84% Clinton ... 15% Sanders ... <1% Biden
For the Republican nomination — 39% Trump ... 39% Rubio ... 18% Cruz ... <1% each Bush/Kasich/Romney
For the presidency — 64% Clinton ... 11% Sanders ... 8% Rubio ... 4% Trump ... <1% each Bush/Cruz/Biden/Bloomberg/Ryan/jokes
For the House — 85% GOP ... 9% Dem ... 7% unknown/too close to call/jokes
For the Senate — 49% Dem (including one tie) ... 47% GOP ... 5% unknown/too close to call/jokes

And lastly, a spreadsheet of the results for your perusal.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:24 AM on November 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Well, I take little pleasure in getting things more right than others. Even I thought that Clinton would win mostly out of a refusal to believe Trump would have the appeal he did, or at least that the electoral college would shake out in his favor.

One thing I should note about my analysis is that I was mostly making a fundamentals-based prediction: in essence, that what at the time looked like a looming economic slowdown would favor a generic Republican candidate, but that Trump's many drawbacks would help Clinton to victory. What's remarkable is that the economy did pretty well as the campaign drew to a close: unemployment was low and steady, wages went up, gas was still cheap, etc. Instead, it looks like the election turned on stuff a focus on fundamentals would not account for, including Facebook being deluged with fake news, the FBI and Russia tipping the scales against Clinton, and the Clinton campaign putting more resources into Arizona than Michigan. Who could have predicted that?

As for the charity, I've got to go with the ACLU. Civil liberties need all the support they can get right now.
posted by Cash4Lead at 2:00 PM on November 20, 2016 [68 favorites]

While I certainly didn't have the most impressive predictions overall (sorry, President Rubio!), I was the only other person who predicted Kaine, and I think my analysis was pretty prescient if I do say so myself.
posted by John Cohen at 3:57 PM on November 20, 2016

Limberbutt McCubbins is no "joke"! Very hard, much work we make for Get At The Vote team. Such resources we dedicated to our swinging counties in Michigan—Clawford County, Cats County, Miaouckinac County, Saggipaw County, and Van Buren County (home of Paw Paw); Pensylvania—Cubbinland County, Lickawanna County, Lancatser County, LeHigh County (Catnip Legalization is in evitable!); in OHAIo—Hairison County, Licking County, Pawlding County; Collarado support strong in Garfield County, Kat Carson County, and Prowlers County.

Still, we are humbled. We may sit on windowsill now, we may wonder what went wrong, but I tell you my friends, though we are not what in old days ruled garden and garage, it is not too late to seek a better world. Brush off!—and with haunches well in order, just for now, smother the sounding furrows of yer hooman's brow.
posted by sylvanshine at 5:19 PM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

ANALYSIS/RATIONALIZATION/WEEPING — I put Clinton in as the eventual winner because my brain just won't acknowledge the possibility of Trump winning.

My stupid brain lost me the contest and it still refuses to believe.
posted by octothorpe at 4:08 AM on November 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

You forgot the first rule of emotional gambling: Always bet against your own team. That way you either end up with the Thrill Of Victory or a pile of sweet sweet cash to spend on sorrow-wallowing vices.
posted by Plutor at 5:58 PM on November 21, 2016 [5 favorites]

I am a terrible predictor, but Tim Kaine was one of my favorite things to come out of this election cycle because publicly leftie devout Catholics are too rare! It's Tim Kaine and Stephen Colbert (and John Kerry) and thank you Tim Kaine for joining the crowd and speaking so eloquently about your faith!

We social justice Catholics are legion but not always loud. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 1:43 AM on November 22, 2016 [10 favorites]

Plutor: "You forgot the first rule of emotional gambling: Always bet against your own team. That way you either end up with the Thrill Of Victory or a pile of sweet sweet cash to spend on sorrow-wallowing vices."

Remind me that the next time that Pitt's in the Sweet 16.
posted by octothorpe at 4:38 AM on November 22, 2016

So, the _winner_ of the Metafilter election prediction contest wasn't able to predict the presidential election outcome?

posted by amtho at 9:09 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

So, the _winner_ of the Metafilter election prediction contest wasn't able to predict the presidential election outcome?

As the winner of the popular vote is different to the winner of the Electoral College vote, this seems strangely apt.
posted by Wordshore at 10:37 AM on November 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

I figured it would be interesting to have an earlier contest focused more on trying to game out the twists and turns of a race with so many candidates -- guessing the final winner/margin is what the usual pre-election contest is for.

Cash4Lead wins on that score overall, IMHO, since he correctly called more races in far more detail (and impressively got the VP pick), but since double block and bleed got the final result right and got one of his two misses wrong by just a hair, I suppose you could call him the runner-up. (To be fair, though, two of the three elements of the end result are binary choices -- one of which was barely in doubt, the other of which was strongly correlated with the winning candidate).

Also, while it might not count for much, I'm convinced C4L would have been 100% dead-on balls accurate if it weren't for the Comey ratfuckery.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:13 AM on November 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, but someone expertly timing a move like that isn't really surprising, is it?

Sorry if I sounded snarky. I'm not snarking about the contest itself; I think that the detailed stuff is, in a way, more interesting and difficult and should be weighted heavily.

As soon as the potential nominee pool was down to two or three I felt a growing sense of dread; I realized that camp A hated camp B's nominee as much as vice-versa.

I'm a little moody because it seems like I'm the _only_ person I know who isn't shocked by the outcome. My dude got really upset with me for reminding him about a weeks-before-the-election conversation in which I said that I didn't understand how anyone could be relieved by the polls which he found so comforting (or at least, he tried to comfort me with them). That wanting to believe something makes us selective in what information we take in is something we all know, but watching it happen in front of me was disturbing.

Also because a couple of my pre-election attempts here to increase understanding of people and strategy have been moderated out (justifiably, either because they were ill-timed or more action-oriented than "here's this cool thing"-oriented), has led to my feeling frustrated.
posted by amtho at 12:13 PM on November 22, 2016

I've won about $100 betting on Brexit and Trump this year. I'don't rather have lost the money...
posted by alasdair at 1:43 PM on November 23, 2016

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