Maine's June 2010 Election: And The Winners Are...
This election’s prediction pool is a study in contrasts. Libby Mitchell’s success in the Democratic race, it seems, was easy to predict. The size of Republican Paul LePage’s margin of victory, however, was a surprise even to his most engaged supporters.
For this election, I’ve split the results into three sections (the Democratic primary, the Republican primary, and the ballot questions) and the winner in each will win a button from a Maine campaign.
On the Democratic side most predicted a victory by Mitchell but almost everyone underestimated the electoral strength of Rosa Scarcelli and overestimated Steve Rowe and Pat McGowan. The top ten prognosticators are shown below, along with the average prediction from the pool and the results of the Pan Atlantic poll (adjusted by apportioning undecideds among the candidates based on their percentage of the decided vote). The actual results are from the unofficial totals posted by the Bangor Daily News.
UMF Political Scientist Jim Melcher was the clear winner here, predicting each of the candidates percentages to within just a few points. Error is calculated by comparing each predicted to the actual, adding them all together and dividing by two. The Pan Atlantic poll was reasonably accurate for this race, although it significantly overestimated support for Rowe.
On the Republican side, more candidates means more error.
None of the 41 participants in the poll predicted anything close to LePage’s Tea Party-powered 20-point margin of victory and almost everyone overestimated Steve Abbott’s support. Aaron Prill, an enthusiastic supporter of LePage, won this round, but even he underestimated LePage’s margins against Les Otten and Abbott by ten points each.
Interestingly, the man who should perhaps best know the strength of the Tea Party, Maine Tea Party Patriots coordinator and frequent spokesperson Andrew Ian Dodge, predicted that LePage would place fourth, behind Otten, Abbott, and Mills.
The Pan Atlantic poll significantly overestimated support for Otten.
For this election, I’ll do the ballot questions all as one block. Most pool participants predicted victories for all the bond questions, but Question 1 was much more evenly split. While about half of the entrants predicted a victory for the Yes side on this people’s veto of the tax reform bill, few expected it to win by such a wide margin. It was a confusing election, with both sides claiming that voting the other way would raise your taxes, and I’m not sure what lessons can be taken from the results.
Big Talk host Alan Brewer won the referendum questions section by predicting each of the bond issues to within just a few percentage points. Those good guesses made up for his big miss on Question 1 and guaranteed him the third coveted campaign button.
Below is the full list of the 36 people who filled out all three sections and their total error. Aaron Prill came in first, followed closely by Robert Shaffer with John McAnuff in third. I’m rather proud of my seventh place finish, although I was once again beaten by Dan Billings. Interestingly, all of us (the pool average) did better than any one of us - perhaps an argument for the wisdom of crowds.