The Washington Post

Super Tuesday predictions: How did we do?

Now that Super Tuesday’s results are in, how prescient was our PostOpinions panel of prognosticators?

Most of the panel got the broad contours of the race about right — Mitt Romney winning at least Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia and a tight race in Ohio, Newt Gingrich winning Georgia, and Rick Santorum playing well in the deepest red states.

Still, chalk it up to sparse polling data, the sense of inertia that developed following Romney’s wins in Arizona and Michigan last week, or a string of high-profile endorsements before the big day, but we were generally a bit too optimistic about Romney’s chances and too pessimistic about Santorum’s. Only James Downie correctly predicted Santorum would take North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Most everyone else saw North Dakota going to Romney or Ron Paul, while David Ignatius and Jennifer Rubin both predicted that Tennessee would swing Romney’s way.

The results also showed that we were too kind to Paul, one of the candidates journalists are typically accused of ignoring. With no available poll data, nearly all thought he would win Alaska or North Dakota. Only Jonathan Bernstein and Alexandra Petri correctly predicted that he would win neither.

Everyone, at least, nailed Newt Gingrich’s single win, in his home-state of Georgia.

Over the next month, the race heads south — to contests in which we prognosticators might not be as positive about Romney’s chances — then back to the northeast and the rest of the country. Leave your predictions about how it will all pan out in the comments section.

Stephen Stromberg is a Post editorial writer. He specializes in domestic policy, including energy, the environment, legal affairs and public health.


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