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How well did YOU do predicting what would happen in 2012?

January 1st, 2013

How PBers got 2012 right and wrong

The PB 2012 Prediction Competition Results

It goes without saying that 2012 was an extraordinarily busy year – not only with the Olympics and the Jubilee, but politically it was pretty crammed too. The US election dominated the year, but there were plenty of elections elsewhere, with France, Russia, Mexico, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea – and two in Greece. The UK weighed in with the London Mayor contest, the locals, and no fewer than seven by-elections, including Galloway’s extraordinary (and flash-in-the-pan?) victory in Bradford West, and the year also saw the rise of UKIP.

So, how did you do? Congratulations to Adrian Owens who finished just 4 points ahead of No Offence Alan with James Kelly in third place in the competition – the full table with all 141 players is available here, as well as an Excel spreadsheet showing the detailed breakdown of results.

The first section looked at key posts as at Christmas 2012, and the first four questions were well answered – a 99% success rate for Cameron as PM, 98% for Clegg as DPM, 90% for Ed Miliband as Labour leader, and 92% for Boris to be re-elected. The main stumbling block was France, where the success rate for Hollande dropped to 67%.

The second part covered the US election. Rick Santorum’s (wafer-thin) Iowa victory was correctly predicted by just 21% of entrants, but success rates for the New Hampshire primary (94%), the GOP nominee (90%) and the presidential election winner (84%) were much higher.

    Seat predictions for the May elections were next, covering local elections in England, Scotland, and Wales. Generally the hardest part of the annual PB competition, only the SNP result was close to the average prediction, with a gain of 57 seats against the predicted average of 50. The Conservative and Labour seat movements in the locals of -405 and +823 were way off from the average predictions of -124 and +357. The Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru were closer to the predictions, with actuals of -336 and -41 versus the average predictions of -219 and -1.

As ever, the final section looked at the year’s opinion polls, with the Guardian’s ICM series being used once more. Predictions covered the highs and lows for the main parties, plus the large and small Labour leads. The Conservatives held leads in the January and March polls, while Labour had an average lead of 7 points from April until December. During the year, the Conservatives moved between 40 and 31, Labour 35-41, and the Lib Dems between 11 and 16. Players collected 50 points if they were spot on, losing 10 points for each percentage point out, down to zero. With an average of 32.8 points collected, best predicted was the Labour low of 35% and the Lib Dem low of 11%, in contrast to the Labour largest lead (10) which was the worst predicted with an average of just 17.9 points.

Many thanks to everyone who took part, and we hope to be opening the 2013 PB Competition very soon.

Looking ahead, 2013 will (at present!) be much quieter, a bit like Glastonbury taking a year off after being dominated by huge headline acts. The four major elections will be Israel (Jan), Italy (Feb), Germany (Sep or Oct) and Australia (by Nov), supported by Norway, Austria, the Governor races in New Jersey and Virginia, and presidential elections in Iran and Chile – and at the moment, that’s pretty much it, although Martin McGuinness has finally stood down as MP for Mid-Ulster. After the behemoth of 2012, and ahead of busier 2014, 2015, and 2016, a quiet year is probably no bad thing.

    Finally, if you would like to take part, the 2013 season is now underway at The Election Game - the Leaders & Finance game is here and the Israel game will be out shortly. The games are free to enter, entries for Leaders/Finance close 5pm GMT Sunday 13th Jan, and the Election Game can also be followed here on Twitter (@electiongame).

I’d like to wish all of PB’s punters, posters, and lurkers all the very best for 2013, and well done to Our Genial Host and the rest of the PB team for continuing to run an outstanding website.

Double Carpet