October 12, 2012

Revisiting my pre-VP debate predictions

Just prior to the vice presidential debate I quickly threw out some high level predictions.  You can see the original predictions and some rationale behind them here.  How did I do?  Not too badly.

Over/under on Biden gaffes: 1. Did Biden make any gaffes? I'm not talking about factual mistakes - those are likely to fly under the radar. Technically I'd say he made no gaffes. He did interrupt and laugh and smile inappropriately. But does that equate to a Gore 2000 sigh that worked against him? I'm not sure it will, and unless it does, I wouldn't call it a gaffe. Actual gaffe tally: 0. Possibly 1. Verdict: Correct range.

Chance the mainstream media will declare a Biden victory: 45%. Most pundits seem to be calling it a draw. That said, the spin, and it's not entirely unfair, is that by being aggressive and working up the base Biden accomplished what he needed to do. He may have stopped, or at least slowed the hemorrhaging of the Obama campaign in the polls. Ryan proved he was presidential enough to stand toe-to-toe with an obnoxious loudmouth and not get fazed. He did what he needed to do also. However, Biden had the bigger task, so he can perhaps claim the bigger accomplishment. Verdict: The press is calling it a draw but will spin it in the subtext as a Biden win. How that translate to whether my estimated probability of 45% is open to interpretation. I'll call that one a miss.

Chance Biden makes some outlandishly incorrect claim about Romney or Ryan: 95%. Some of the most left-leaning in the press and on Twitter were calling Biden a walking fact-checker last night. And they were doing it with straight faces. But did Biden make a lot of false claims last night? Hell...yeah. Verdict: Correct.

Chance Biden goes after Romney's flip-flopping: 99.9%. Despite the efforts of biased moderator Martha Raddatz to set Biden up several times on abortion to attack Romney's flip flop on the issue, Biden mostly kept that portion of the debate philosophical. Unless I missed something else Biden didn't really go after Romney's alleged flip-flopping and instead focused on the 47% comments. Verdict: Another miss.

Chances the media fact checks every Ryan breath: 100% Verdict: ...and...correct. This piece of "fact checking" seems to  go pretty easy on Biden and on Ryan, not so much.

Chances the media fact checks 10% of Biden's claims: 0.1% If you exclude generally conservative outlets like Fox and Forbes, the mainstream media has focused on Ryan's facts and played loose with Joe's (see previous example).  Verdict: Correct.

Over/Under on Biden funny quips: 0.5 (about the same for Ryan): Just because Biden was laughing all the time does not mean he was funny.  Funny quips - 0.  Ryan, 1 quip that was mildly humorous but definitely a zinger.  There were a few other attempts, but they really weren't funny.  Verdict: Correct range on both.

Chance Ryan wins (excluding media spin): 99.999% Verdict: Wrong.  While both candidates did what they needed to do, Biden did have a more important task and by not imploding he will be in the mainstream media the de facto winner of what I'd classify as a draw.

Over/under on viewers - 23 million.  I haven't seen any results yet on viewership but I did hear one anecdotal comment last night either on Fox or CNN that there was a third of the audience of the first Obama Romney debate which drew roughly 70 million viewers.  If that holds true it's a correct prediction, but at this point it's too early to tell.

How'd I do on my self-scored prediction outcomes? 6 correct, 3 wrong and 1 TBD.  Not bad.

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