A Different Sort of Accountability

There are a lot of people who say a lot of things by way of predicting the future. Some of them have high-falutin’ reputations.

Some students at Hamilton College compared predictions with actual results here. They used a simple rating system and at the end, it was clear who was a reliable predictor, and who was the blowhard.

Even when the students eliminated political predictions and looked only at predictions for the economy and social issues, they found that liberals still do better than conservatives at prediction. After Krugman, the most accurate pundits were Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – all Democrats and/or liberals.

Those scoring lowest – “The Ugly” – with negative tallies were conservative columnist Cal Thomas; U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC); U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI); U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a McCain supporter and Democrat-turned-Independent from Connecticut; Sam Donaldson of ABC; and conservative columnist George Will.


Finally, those prognosticators with a law degree were more likely to be wrong.

So… if you’re a liberal, non-lawyer prognosticator, you’re probably more accurate in predicting future events. If you’re a conservative lawyer-type, you’re more likely to be wrong.

I think we already knew this, at least vaguely. I just think it’s interesting that liberals were better able to predict outcomes. To me, that means they’re more aware, better able to analyze data and trends and probably less interested in having outcomes match up with ideology. These are all good things.

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