Instead of making a bunch of predictions for New Years, I like the idea of opinion-mongers taking the time to admit the predictions they got wrong in the past year.
1. The 2010 elections will be good for Republicans in Massachusetts. For years, I’ve paid attention to Republicans with little hope in my home state. I wrote a column about Jim Ogonowski’s Senate campaign, the year he failed to even qualify for the Republican primary ballot. I followed up with a piece on the guy who eventually got the GOP nod to run against John Kerry. I even penned an NRO column with a headline referring to an upset — about Bay State Republican candidate who ended up losing by 40 points. (The rest of the column holds up pretty well, though.)
This year, I was convinced Massachusetts Republicans would be able to follow up on the January success of Scott Brown. To a certain extent, they did — they increased their numbers in the state legislature, won seats on the governor’s council, and ran more competitive congressional and statewide candidates than they had since 1994. But I thought at least one of those congressional or statewide candidates would actually win. None did. Massachusetts remains the single most frustrating place in the country outside D.C. to be a Republican.
2. Every Tea Party-aligned conservative Senate candidate who won the Republican primary would win the general, except for Christine O’Donnell — and even she would break 40 percent of the vote. Well, O’Donnell did break 40 percent of the vote (barely). But while Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, and Ron Johnson won, Sharron Angle and Ken Buck also lost. Which brings me to:
3. Harry Reid can’t win reelection. My view was that Reid’s numbers, generally stuck around the mid-40s and never breaking 50 percent, were too enduringly awful for him to win another term no mmatter how badly his Republican challenger campaigned. I thought the only exception would be a None of the Above vote (allowable in Nevada) larger than any in history. Well, Reid won reelection without that. I know a lot of readers are skeptical that Reid won fair and square, but his margin of victory is outside the margin of shenanigans.
4. Christine O’Donnell is a no-hoper in the primary. I wasn’t confident enough in that one to make the prediction publicly, but I did dissuade an intern from writing a piece that took her ability to beat Mike Castle seriously. Oops! Though in my defense, it was before she caught on with conservatives nationally — the prerequisite for a successful Tea Party challenge this year.
5. Dino Rossi. Yeah, I believed those late polls that he was pulling away. Nope.
I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones I got wrong off the top of my head.