More than 1300 people entered the Anzalone Liszt Election Prediction contest, including elected officials, pollsters, media and mail consultants, high-level campaign staffers, and operatives of all types and stripes. Of the roughly 1300 entrants, our winner is…Joshua Karetny, an aide to U.S. Senator (and ALR client) Sheldon Whitehouse.
Chuck Todd? Nate Silver? Larry Sabato? Those guys are so 2012. Joshua has now established himself as a preeminent political pundit, with a $1000 prize to show for it.
Joshua correctly predicted 26 of 28 races running the gamut from the Presidential race to numerous competitive Senate and House contests. The only two races Joshua missed were Democrat Gary McDowell’s narrow loss to Republican Dan Benishek in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District and Democratic Congressman Mark Critz’s close loss to Republican challenger Keith Rofthfus in Pennsylvania’s 12th CD. While, one other entrant also correctly predicted 26 of 28 races, Joshua’s tie-breaker estimate that NBC News would name an electoral college winner at 11:18 EDT on Election Night was just four minutes behind the actual televised declaration.
The average success rate of entrants was approximately 63%, correctly identifying winners in roughly 18 of the 28 contests.
Entrants in the Northeast (where the mean of correct answers was 18.67) and West (18.25) were the most accurate. Also, entrants who live or work in the D.C. area averaged about one more correct response (18.46) than those outside of the DC area (17.13).
Younger entrants (18-24) were the most accurate (18.78) age group, while those 60+ were the least accurate (16.74).
Given that most competitive races broke toward Democrats, it’s not a surprise that Democrats (19.29) guessed more accurately than Republicans (11.26) and Independents (16.13). While Democrats may be tempted to crow about that disparity, they should recall that the ALR contest during the 2010 Republican wave year was won a Republican.
Campaign/party staffers were the most accurate occupational group (19.29) followed by consultants (18.24), students (18.21), employees at issue-based organizations (18.20), those in the media (17.15), and government employees (16.68). Entrants not employed in politics (16.83) predicted roughly 17 of 28 races correctly.
The only wrinkle in the presidential race that surprised most entrants was President Obama carrying the Sunshine State. More than three-in-four entrants (78%) expected Mitt Romney to carry Florida – a state which he ultimately lost by less than one percent.
A majority of entrants correctly predicted every Senate race except for North Dakota’s open seat contest. Only one-third of entrants (32%) believed Democrat Heidi Heitkamp would best Republican Rick Berg – a race Heitkamp won by 3,000 votes.
There were a few more surprises in the House races. A majority of entrants missed the mark on:
• Pennsylvania’s 12th District – 80% believed Democratic incumbent Mark Critz could outlast Republican challenger Keith Rothfus
• Florida’s 18th District – 63% expected Republican lighting rod Allen West to be re-elected over Democrat Patrick Murphy
• Utah’s 4th District -58% predicted Republican Mia Love would oust veteran Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson.
• Michigan’s 1st District – 52% predicted Democrat Gary McDowell would defeat GOP incumbent Dan Benishek