Closing the Book On the Presidential Election

With more or less all precincts reporting (including Florida — finally!), only one remaining burning question remains:

How did the Crystal Ball’s election predictions fare?

We reported last week that the Crystal Ball team — politics professor Larry Sabato and his U.Va. Center for Politics colleagues Geoff Skelley and Kyle Kondik — forecast an Obama victory in the presidential race.

In their post-election self-evaluation, the Crystal Ball staff gave themselves mostly positive marks:

  • They missed Virginia and Florida going for Obama, and thus under-forecast the president’s margin in the Electoral College, but correctly forecast the other 48 states.
  • They correctly predicted 31 of the 33 Senate races, again erring a little on the GOP side. They had Democrats emerging with 53 seats, but it looks like they will control 55.
  • They successfully picked 10 of the 11 gubernatorial races.
  • They report about 97 percent accuracy in the 435 House of Representatives races, with Democrats again making a few unforeseen gains.

“All in all, we correctly picked about 96 percent of the combined Electoral College, House, Senate and gubernatorial results this cycle,” the forecasters wrote. “That’s about equal to our biennial average.”

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