So, if you recall, ol' Dick Morris, he predicted something of a landslide for Mitt Romney. Something of a crazy landslide, actually, in which it was an absolute given that Obama had already lost Florida, Virginia and Colorado; in which Ohio, New Hampshire and Iowa had "eroded"; in which the "battleground" was Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota; and "Romney momentum" was going to "wash into formerly safe Democratic territory in New Jersey and Oregon."
This was almost perfectly incorrect -- a near ne plus ultra of staggering wrongness, mitigated only slightly by the fact that Florida has not yet been called. And so this morning Morris has offered up his list of excuses in the form of a mea culpa titled "Why I Was Wrong":
I've got egg on my face. I predicted a Romney landslide and, instead, we ended up with an Obama squeaker.
As you can read for yourself, we are not off to a particularly great start, here, since it was not so much an "Obama squeaker" as it was an election in which it became pretty obvious where things were going around 10 o'clock, and then Ohio ended up getting called much earlier than expected, and Obama went on to win quite handily.
Morris recovers, however:
The key reason for my bum prediction is that I mistakenly believed that the 2008 surge in black, Latino, and young voter turnout would recede in 2012 to "normal" levels. Didn't happen. These high levels of minority and young voter participation are here to stay. And, with them, a permanent reshaping of our nation's politics.
If you just read his prediction, it isn't immediately apparent that an underestimation of the "black, Latino, and young voter turnout" is one of the conditions that underpinned his proposition that the nation was headed for a Romney landslide. Morris essentially said in his previous piece that Obama had produced a lot of negative ads, no one believed them, and that meant "[r]easonable voters saw that the voice of hope and optimism and positivism was Romney while the president was only a nitpicking, quarrelsome, negative figure."
But the underestimation of these voters is a bug in many a bum prediction, as are the assumptions that the 2010 voter turnout model had a meaningful relationship to the 2012 turnout, or the assumption that "independent voters" were breaking in a significant way for Romney when it was fairly obvious that the "independent voter" cohort was flooded with rebranded Republican voters. As David Axelrod said, "We may not win these voters, but we may not have to win these voters."
Does Morris go on to cite any of these factors in his mea culpa? Nope. He is thoroughly convinced that he was undone by the weather.
But the more proximate cause of my error was that I did not take full account of the impact of hurricane Sandy and of Governor Chris Christie's bipartisan march through New Jersey arm in arm with President Obama. Not to mention Christie's fawning promotion of Obama's presidential leadership.
It made all the difference.
Not really, actually! Philip Bump put together a simple graphic that illustrates the fact that Romney's momentum had ceased and Obama's had picked up again well before Sandy even got her name, and that by the time the storm made landfall, the race was no longer looking like a squeaker. The whole "Sandy altered the race because Chris Christie hung out with Obama" notion is just one more casualty in this year's war between "pundit narrative nonsense" and "quantifiable political science," won decisively by the scientists.
Not to worry, though. Morris will nevertheless enjoy another four-year term of being wrong and ridiculous, which only goes to prove that America is a great and charitable nation.
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