2012 Score Card

As we approach the end of 2012, and reflect on the past 12 months, we have to take a deep breath and determine how we fared on our annual predictions.  Any time there is a presidential election, things are necessarily more difficult to predict.  But, before we start making excuses, let’s see how we did.  Who knows, maybe we’ll beat our all time record of 80% recorded in 2011.  Here goes:

1. The Republicans wont know who their 2012 presidential candidate is until shortly before the RNC convention in Florida, as primary candidates trade leadership positions in the polls and at least four candidates win at least one state’s caucuses or primary election. This will have the side effect of weakening the Republican candidate’s chances in the general election and will give president Obama a large lead going into the general election cycle.
TRUE.  Mitt Romney was not deemed to be the Republicans’ presumptive nominee until June, and even as late as July, there was still talk about Ron Paul supporters attempting to stage a protest at the RNC Convention.  Just as we predicted, four candidates, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, won delegates in Republican primaries. This did give Obama a lead that the Republicans never could close, and thus, a second term for President Obama.
2. The situation on the ground in Iran will destabilize to the point where the US has to get involved in stabilizing control of Iran’s nuclear arsenal.
TRUE.  Iran brazenly continued its nuclear weapons program, despite UN votes against it, and threats to take action in the absence of an agreement by Iran to discontinue development.  The US issued Iran a nuclear deadline this month before taking formal military action.
3. Similarly, in Pakistan, the increasing turmoil will escalate as military and political leaders struggle for power.  US-Pakistani relations will deteriorate and the US will be forced to reevaluate its relationship with Pakistan and its support for Pakistani leadership.
TRUE.  The fact that we got this one right is most troubling.  Notwithstanding the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, which resulted in the death of the Al Qaida leader who had been hiding in Pakistan, the US’s relationship with Pakistan has now deteriorated to the point where it has reached a dangerous low.  
4. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will continue to stand out as a capable and respected leader and a commanding presence in US international relations, causing even more Democrats to wonder why she wasn’t their candidate in 2008, and calling for her to replace vice president Biden as president Obama’s running mate in the 2012 general election, or better yet, to challenge the president in a Democratic primary.
TRUE.  In fact, Secretary Clinton’s recent resignation as Secretary of State has generated all sorts of talk about her inevitable run for president in 2016.  She has made her boss and her party look good with her tireless efforts to represent the US abroad for the past four years.  She will be a formidable force in the coming years.
5. Congress will continue to have abysmally low approval ratings as they engage in another partisan fight about the debt ceiling, payroll taxes, and health care, rather than focusing on coming together to make progress on ways to balance the budget, address the state of education, and solve immigration issues.
TRUE.  Congress hit a low of 13% approval in August.  That basically means only family members and paid staffers aprove of the job Congress is doing.  (Thanks, Sen McCain, for use of your joke.)  In the midst of the current fiscal cliff debacle, the ratings, which peaked at 21% in November, are back on a downward trend, hovering at about 18% as of this writing.
6.  US troops will continue to leave Iraq, but will deploy to new areas of the destabilizing Middle East.
TRUE.  The troop numbers in Iraq decreased in 2012, despite requests from the Iraqi government to leave stabilizing troops in place after 2012.  Additionally, there were new and additional deployments to Turkey, Syria, and other areas in and around the Middle East during the year.
7. Redistricting resulting from the 2010 Census will inure to the benefit of the Democrats who will pick up seats in districts previously drawn to favor Republicans.
TRUE/FALSE.  Redistricting did help Democrats pick up a lop-sided number of seats in Arizona, where Republicans have the largest percentage of registered voters.  But, the same was not necessarily true in all sates.  So, we get half a point on this one.
8. Social media-driven movements, much like the Arab Spring, will continue to drive policy, influence opinion, and impact consumer spending.
TRUE/FALSE.  While studies are universally showing no impact on sales as a result of social media engagement by companies, major movements took hold via social networking in 2012 in Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Dehli, and other important stories.  So, we get half a point here, as well.
9. The unemployment rate will continue to decline slightly.
TRUE.  The US unemployment rate started at 8.3% in January and November’s number came in at 7.7%.
10.  And, charitable giving will start to make a slight come back as some unemployed Americans go back to work.
TRUE.  Thankfully, donations to charitable groups continued to rise in 2012, suggesting Americans may feel a bit less unease about the economic prospects in the near term.
So, where does that leave us?  Looks like if we give ourselves partial credit for predictions 7 and 8, we’ve come in at an all time high of 90%.  Perhaps that is a sign we should quit making predictions now?  90% would be very hard to beat in coming years.
But, we still have to talk about the three additional, but unof
ficial, predictions we made at the special request of one of our favorite readers, @Zimmy21.
1. Super Bowl.  We’ll go with an upset in the NFC with the 49ers beating the Packers in the Conference Championship.  The AFC will go to the Patriots, as expected.  So, the Super Bowl will pit the perennially outstanding Patriots against the newly reinvigorated 49ers.  
Results: Pats over Niners.  Spread = 7.
FALSE.  Not even close.  The Giants beat the Patriots 21 to 7.
2. Tebow.  The Broncos will beat the the Steelers in a down-to-the wire AFC Wild Card Game (sorry @horsestoharleys), but the Patriots will easily handle Tebow, despite Divine intervention, in the Divisional Playoffs.  Tebow will go on to win at least ten games as the Broncos’ starter in the 2012 season.
FALSE. Not only did Tebow not win 10 games, he ended up playing for the Jets.
3. Democratic pick-ups.  The current split in the US House is 242 (R) to 192 (D).  After redistricting, the Rs will keep the majority, but the Ds will pick up somewhere around 15 seats, making the R majority much narrower.  This, of course, has the unfortunate side effect of making an already unproductive Congress even more evenly split, more partisan, and less likely to get anything significant done.
TRUE.  The Democrats significantly narrowed the Republicans’ majority, reducing the gap to 234 (R) to 201 (D).
Now, if we count the un-official predictions, we’re at 77%.  A much less respectable, but still better than average, rate of success.  Still, we’re going with the 90% we got on the official predictions as we mentioned we would at the time we made the predictions as we have no expertise to predict the outcomes of specific sporting contests.
And, as per our long-standing tradition, here is how our own trend line is looking:

Historical Recap









Stay tuned for our 2013 predictions, coming up soon.

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