The PB 2010 Prediction Competition Results

The PB 2010 Prediction Competition Results

How PBers got 2010 right and wrong

Congratulations to Yet Another David who finished 65 points ahead of Chris Read with Andrew Marshall in third place in the competition – the full table with all 131 players is available here, as well as an Excel spreadsheet showing the detailed breakdown of results.

So what were the “Becher’s Brook” questions where people came unstuck? And what were the “dead certs” that nearly everyone got right?

The first section looked at key posts as at Christmas 2010, and was generally very well answered – a 98% success rate for naming the Prime Minister, 100% for Cameron as Conservative leader, 94% for Clegg leading the Lib Dems, 89% for Osborne to be Chancellor, and 77% correctly predicted that Bercow would be Speaker. The main stumbling block was the Labour leader, with the split of predictions resembling an election result in a PR country. Only 24% of players correctly predicted Ed Miliband as Labour leader, although this was the top answer. His brother took 20% of predictions, just ahead of eventual non-runner Harman with 19%, and eight other names between 2 and 7% of predictions.

The second part was the “Days in 2010” and also featured the US Midterms. The “how many days will Bank Rate be less than 1%?” tripped up a lot of people. In the event, it remained at 0.5% all year, but only a quarter of players scored full points here for a correct answer of 365 days. Better done was how many days would the UK retain its AAA sovereign bond rating – again the answer was all year, but here 83% of players got the right answer, while 69% of players correctly identified that the general election would be on the 126th day of the year, ie 6th May. Meanwhile the size of the “wave” hitting the Democrats in the midterms was seriously underestimated – on average, players were 40 seats below the loss of 63 seats.

Seat predictions for the general election were next, with players starting with a pot of 500 points, reduced by one for each seat out. The average score here was 397 – ie 103 seats out. The average seat differential for the Conservatives was 43, for Labour it was 44, and for Lib Dems, predicted pre-Cleggmania, it was nine. “Other GB” also under-performed expectations, the seat haul of nil producing a total difference across all players of 370 seats.

As ever, the final section looked at the ICM polls during the year, as published in the Guardian. Players were asked to predict the high and low shares for the main three parties, as well as the large and small leads for the Conservatives. Perhaps unusually, the Lib Dems had the greatest variation in polling during the year, with a range from 30 down to 13. For each question, players collected 50 points if they were spot on, losing 10 points for each percentage point out, down to zero. With an average of 24 points collected, best predicted was the Labour low of 28%, followed by the Lib Dem low of 13% (average score 19) and the Tory low of 33% (average score 16). The worst predictions were for the Lib Dem Cleggmania high of 30% (average just three points scored!) and the Conservative largest lead of 11% (average score eight) – the average prediction for the largest Con lead was 17%.

To sum up then, a busy political year was fairly well predicted, with the main areas where people came unstuck being Ed Miliband, the impact of the debates on the Lib Dems, the Democrats’ seat loss, and interest rates. What will 2011 hold? – not perhaps quite as important a year in electoral terms in the UK as 2010 was, but one which promises plenty of politics, both inside and outside the party system.

Many thanks to everyone who took part, and we hope to be opening the 2011 PB Competition in the next few days. As you may (or may not!) have noticed, I haven’t been on the site that much recently, but as Blair said in his final Conference speech, “I will be with you”, and I hope to continue to contribute to the site in 2011.

Can I take this opportunity to thank Our Genial Host for continuing to run an outstanding website, and also thanks to the other members of the editorial team in the shape of David Herdson and Morus, to Marf for the cartoons – and of course to Robert for all the IT work behind the scenes. Also well done to Jonathan, who I think has done a great job with the Sunday evening slot. It’s been great to see so many new guest posters on the site – thanks to everyone for your contributions.

Finally, if anyone would like to take part, the 2011 season is now underway at The Election Game – the Leaders & Finance game is here and the Oldham East & Saddleworth game is here – it’s free to enter, entries close 12th Jan, and the 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 2011 – which I think will be “choppy” in the UK and “quietish” internationally (at least compared to 2010 and 2012!).

Double Carpet

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