Scott Adams was the political pundit of the year for 2015 and 2016

In late December of 2015, I asked whether Scott Adams should be considered the political pundit of the year here.

Some of the objections in the comments were that he hadn’t been proved correct yet, since he predicted that Trump would win the nomination and we hadn’t even had a primary yet at that point. And similarly, that Nate Silver and co. hadn’t been proven wrong yet.

The post has aged well, as Scott’s major predictions from not only that list in 2015 (Trump’s primaries numbers would continue to increase and that he would win the nomination) have been born out but also his major prediction, also made in 2015, that Trump would win the general election. So, it was with some interest I started reading Scott’s book which summarizes much of his thought about Trump’s campaign, Win Bigly – Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter.

Adams’ basic idea is that Trump is a very good persuader, and this has enabled Trump to win in spite of an array of experienced politicians opposing him, and a significant part of the media. I was particularly interested in why Adams was able to make a correct prediction at such an early point, when the large majority of experts in politics got it wrong, again and again, about Trump.

Here are some reasons Adams gives.

  1. “I made a point of sampling the election news on both sides of the political spectrum. I’m not sure how common that practice is. […] If you don’t sample the news on both sides, you miss a lot of the context.” (p.10)
  2. “When Trump’s critics accused him of laziness, ignorance, and cruel intentions, I saw a skilled persuader who knew what mattered and what didn’t. […] I’m a trained hypnotist and a lifelong student of persuasion. Trained persuaders recognize the techniques used by other persuaders in a way the untrained do not.” (pp. 10-11)
  3. “I was also among the first (or the first) to point out that Trump was using high-end business strategy that looked crazy to political pundits who had no business experience. I have extensive business experience across a variety of fields [such as running the Dilbert businesses], so most of what Trump was doing looked familiar to me. For example, where others saw Trump pushing outrageously impractical and even immoral policies, I saw him using standard negotiating tactics and hyperbole to make it easier to find the middle ground later.” (p.11)
  4. “Like Trump, I grew up in New York State. That helped me understand his communication style.” (p.11)
  5. Adams had enough money to not worry about people attacking him for his prediction, and what in a sense was support for Trump (even though Adams considers himself ‘ultra-liberal’ on certain issues). (p.12)
  6. Adams wasn’t as concerned about embarrassing himself as many others, and so was willing to stake much on the prediction (p.12)

For point 1., I would also add that if not sampling election news on both sides of the spectrum, you also miss a lot of what other people are seeing, and hence have a harder time understanding their points of view.

First results from Senate 2018 campaign sim

The first results from the Senate 2018 campaign, using Congress Infinity‘s sim mode, are in. Note the campaign has not been finalized.

100 runs.

Republican majorities: 97%

Democratic majorities (includes independents who caucus with the Democrats): 1%

Ties: 2%

Which means, since Pence is the tie-breaking vote in a 50-50 Senate, Republicans have an effective majority 99% of the runs.

Overall average seats: Republicans 53.9, Democrats 46.1.

Republicans gained a super-majority (60 or more seats) 1% of the time, at 60 seats.

The Democrats’ best result was 51 seats, again 1% of the time.

Super Tuesday (SEC) Predictions

Hi everyone,

Make your Super Tuesday (SEC) predictions here. I’ll make a ‘highscores’ post on Mar. 2nd (or when the final results are in).

For Dems, there will be two categories. Who correctly calls the candidate for 1st place the most times, and who gets the best absolute %s for 1st and 2nd if they call the correct candidate for 1st.

For Reps, there will be two categories. Who correctly calls the candidates for 1st and 2nd place the most times, and who gets the best absolute %s for 1st and 2nd if they call the correct candidates.

For Dems, the regions are

  • Texas (222)
  • Georgia (102)
  • Virginia (95)
  • Massachusetts (91)
  • Minnesota (caucuses, 77)
  • Tennessee (67)
  • Colorado (66)
  • Alabama (53)
  • Oklahoma (38)
  • Arkansas (32)
  • Vermont (16)
  • American Samoa (caucuses, 6)

For Reps, the regions are

  • Texas (155)
  • Georgia (76)
  • Tennessee (58)
  • Alabama (50)
  • Virginia (49)
  • Oklahoma (43)
  • Massachusetts (42)
  • Arkansas (40)
  • Minnesota (caucuses, 38)
  • Alaska (caucuses, 28)
  • Vermont (16)

Note: I will be locking the thread at 2PM PST, 5PM EST.

You can click the subject link to view the predictions.

Nevada Highscores

Congratulations to everyone who made a prediction!

The work for this is included in the spreadsheet Nevada Caucuses Predictions. If I’ve made any errors or overlooked anything, please let me know!

Highscores, Reps (Actual results: Trump 45.9%, Rubio 23.9%, Cruz 21.4%)

5 people got the correct top 3 in order. The winners were Aaron and Dylan K.

  • 1. Aaron (40-25-20, ave. % point error 2.8), Dylan K. (40-24-19, 2.8)
  • 3. Dylan (37-27-20, 4.47)
  • 4. Dallas (36-26-18, 4.8)
  • 5. Jonathan (35-29-23.5, 6.03)

For contrast, Nate Silver (Trump-Rubio-Cruz, 37.1-27.1-21, 4.13) would have made the highscore list, and come in 3rd, after Aaron and Dylan K.

 

Nevada (R) Predictions!

Hi everyone,

Make your Nevada (R) predictions here. I’ll make a ‘highscores’ post on Feb. 24th (or when the final results are in).

The winner will be whoever gets the top 3 correct and among those (if more than one person gets the order right) who has the closest match for %s.

Honorable mentions for anyone who gets the top 3 (in order).

Note: I will be locking the thread at 5PM PST, 8PM EST.

You can click the subject link to view the predictions.

South Carolina and Nevada Highscores

Congratulations to everyone who made a prediction!

The work for this is included in the spreadsheet South Carolina Primary and Nevada Caucuses Predictions. If I’ve made any errors or overlooked anything, please let me know!

Highscores, Reps (Actual results: Trump 32.5%, Rubio 22.5%, Cruz 22.3%)

7 people got the correct top 3 in order. The winner was Jonah.

  1. Jonah (30-23-21, ave. % point error 1.43)
  2. Falcon (36-23-21, 1.77)
  3. Toby (32-21-18, 2.1)
  4. DominicBayer (28-25-22, 2.43)
  5. themiddlepolitical (29-21-19, 2.77)
  6. Luki (29-19-18, 3.77)
  7. Jonathan (30-17-16.5, 4.6)

For contrast, Nick Silver (Trump-Rubio-Cruz, 30.5-19.8-19.5, 2.5) would have made the highscore list, and come in 5th, after Jonah, Falcon, Toby, and DominicBayer.

Highscores, Dems (Actual results: Clinton 52.6%, Sanders 47.3%)

17 people called the correct winner. The winners were William and Kevin.

  • 1. William (53-47, 0.35), Kevin (53-47, 0.35)
  • 3. Aaron (52-48, 0.65), Toby (52-48, 0.65), Jesse (52-48, 0.65), Jonah (52-48, 0.65)
  • 7. Kevin (53-46, 0.85)
  • 8. Jonathan (51.5-48, 0.9)
  • 9. Dylan K. (51-49, ave. % point error 1.65), William Tench (51-49, 1.65), Luki (51-49, 1.65), Jacob (51-49, 1.65), Arjav Rawal (51-49, 1.65)
  • 14. Rophil (50-49, 2.15), DominicBayer (50-49, 2.15)
  • 16. Ted (50.4-49.6, 2.25)
  • 17. themiddlepolitical (55-45, 2.35)

For contrast, Nate Silver (52.4-46, 0.75) would have placed 7th here, after William, Kevin, Aaron, Toby, Jesse, and Jonah.

South Carolina (R) and Nevada (D) Predictions!

Hi everyone,

Make your South Carolina (R) and Nevada (D) predictions here – just one or both. I’ll make a ‘highscores’ post on Feb. 21st.

For Republican predictions, the winner will be whoever gets the top 3 correct (Rep) and among those (if more than one person gets the order right) who has the closest match for %s.  For Dems, the winner will be whoever gets 1st correct and among those (if more than one person gets the order right) who has the closest match for %s between the top 2.

Honorable mentions for anyone who gets the top 3 (in order) for Reps or 1st for Dems.

Note: I will be locking the thread at 10AM PST, 1PM EST on Feb. 20th.

You can click the subject link to view the predictions.

New Hampshire Highscores

Congratulations to everyone who made a prediction!

The work for this is included in the spreadsheet New Hampshire Primaries Predictions. If I’ve made any errors or overlooked anything, please let me know!

Highscores, Reps (Actual results: Trump 35.3%, Kasich 15.8%, Cruz 11.7%)

Only one person got the correct top 3 in order. Kevin correctly called Trump-Kasich-Cruz (26-20-18).

6 people got Trump-Kasich correct. Dylan and Aaron tied for first in terms of ave. % point error, at 2.55.

  • Dylan (31-15)
  • Aaron (31-15)
  • Rophil (31-17)
  • Jeff (27-16)
  • William (25-23)
  • Jesse (22-20)

Eric correctly called the top 3, but not in the right order (Trump-Cruz-Kasich), at 28-16-14.

3 people also called the correct winner in addition to the people above.

  • Chris (Trump-Rubio, 30-17)
  • Luki (Trump-Rubio, 24-21)
  • Nick (Trump-Rubio, 24.5-22.3)

For contrast, Nick Silver (Trump-Rubio-Kasich, 26.8-15.7-15.2) of 538 fame didn’t get the top 3 in order (Kevin beat him), didn’t get the top 2 right (Dylan, Aaron, Rophil, Jeff, William, and Jesse beat him), and didn’t get the top 3 even out of order (Eric beat him). He did correctly call a Trump win though, so how did he do on the spread between 1st and 2nd (probably the most significant number of the night)? He would have come fifth here, after Dylan, Rophil, Aaron, Chris.

Highscores, Dems (Actual results: Sanders 60.4%, Clinton 38%)

Everyone who made a prediction accurately predicted the winner. Listed in order of ave. % point error.

  1. Eric (59-40, 1.7)
  2. Chris (59-41, 2.2)
  3. Jesse (58-41.8, 3.1)
  4. Kevin (57-42, 3.7)
  5. Jonathan (56.5-43, 4.45)
  6. Jeff (56-44, 5.2)
  7. Nick (55-45, 6.2)
  8. Aaron (54-45, 6.7)
  9. Luki (54-46, 7.2)
  10. Rophil (53.2-46.8, 8)
  11. Dylan (53-47, 8.2)
  12. William (52-48, 9.2)

For contrast, Nate Silver (57.2-39.9, 2.55) would have placed 3rd here.

 

New Hampshire Predictions!

Hi everyone,

Make your New Hampshire predictions here – Rep, Dem, or both. I’ll make a ‘highscores’ post on Feb. 10th.

For Republican predictions, the winner will be whoever gets the top 3 correct (Rep) and among those (if more than one person gets the order right) who has the closest match for %s.  For Dems, the winner will be whoever gets 1st correct and among those (if more than one person gets the order right) who has the closest match for %s between the top 2.

Honorable mentions for anyone who gets the top 3 (in order) for Reps or 1st for Dems.

Note: I will be locking the thread at 2PM PST, 5PM EST.

Note: thread locked. You can see the predictions by clicking on the post link.