Obligatory US election 2008 post…with prediction updates!

Last week I discussed Sylvia Browne‘s predictions for the 2008 US presidential election and I made 2 “predictions” of my own. Let’s see how I did.

These were my predictions
1) I predict that Obama will win the election with between 55 and 60 percent of the popular vote. (Note: It’s been pointed out to me that this statement is misleading and appears to read that Obama would win the election with the popular vote alone, which is not the way the US system works. In fact, what I meant was that he would win (i.e., with the electoral votes) AND would get (“with”) 55-60 percent of the popular vote).

2) I predict that the US will not be made into a Muslim state the next day.

Here’s the results
1) Obama did win the election, but he did not get between 55 and 60 percent of the popular vote. He got 52 percent. I strategically picked 55-60 because in an approximation like this it actually allowed me a greater range in which to be “correct” (i.e., scored as a hit), because in psychic-land you can be almost right and still impress. If I had picked 50-55, I would have been limited to a range of 50-57ish to be considered correct (as Obama was unlikely to get less than approximately half of the popular vote). In picking 55-60, my “hit” range that I could reasonably get away with would have been approximately 53-63. He got 52, so if I had fewer scruples I could say “that’s approximately 55, so I was correct”. But I’ll give myself a HIT on the first part of this prediction and a FAIL on the second part because it was not specifically in the range I gave (even though if I were a psychic with legions of fans, I probably would have been given that as a HIT).

2) It’s the next day and I have heard no reports of the US becoming a Muslim state. So I get a HIT on that one.

What is my accuracy rating?
I made one two-part prediction and one single prediction. Let’s count those as three. Out of three I scored a HIT on two and, if I was dishonest, a partial HIT on one. So my accuracy rating if I’m honest is 2/3 = 66% and my accuracy rate if I’m dishonest is 100%. Pretty friggin’ good.

Here’s the thing though. Accuracy ratings are bull. I got those hits because of the extreme likelihood or unlikelihood of the events I was predicting. The only prediction where there was some measure of uncertainty was how much of the popular vote Obama would get, and that was the prediction I got wrong. I used previous knowledge to make these “predictions”, which is not psychic ability. That’s just being able to synthesize and analyse information.

It does no good to analyze an accuracy rating without taking into account the likelihood of the events that are being predicted. If I’m a psychic and only predict things that are extremely likely or unlikely, then I could have a legitimately high hit rating but it would mean nothing. So maybe Sylvia does have an accuracy rating of 80% with the people who know her, but it very well may be an accuracy in predicting the sky is blue. In the very specific and uncertain events that she has publicly predicted, her accuracy rating is much lower.

How did Sylvia do?
Sylvia Browne made a prediction that she thought McCain would win, but she picked Barack anyway because she thought America needed him. So she thought it would be McCain but picked Barack. This is essentially unscorable. If I want to be a jerk, I could say FAIL because technically she called it for McCain and went against herself and picked Obama anyway. If I wanted to be very generous I could score a HIT because even though her gut told her McCain, she picked Barack.

I’m scoring her an EPIC FAIL because if she was psychic and could predict future events she should have just plain known the answer without any of this double speak and “it’s close” qualifiers. In fact, her wording betrays her guesses. It shouldn’t matter how close the election is beforehand, if you are psychic then you should know the result regardless of previous information. The fluctuating situation before knowing the results should not affect the difficulty of the prediction unless it’s nothing more than a guess.

As to her other predictions: the president will have a heart attack, the vice president will take over and declare war on North Korea, North Korea will have WMDs, the vice president will then be assassinated, there will be an investigation which will uncover missing funds, there will be a revelation that there was a conspiracy against Americans to make them distrust their own government… That is one exciting term! She’s covered pretty much every political disaster that could possibly occur (change in leadership, a war, an assassination, an investigation, a conspiracy) in the next 4 years.

I can’t wait to see how all of this unfolds and how Sylvia’s camp will score ANY leadership change, war, assassination, investigation, or “conspiracy” as a HIT regardless of the specificity of her claims. Time will tell…

PS…The US gave Barack a chance, now it’s up to him to not fuck it up. We’ll be waiting for all that “change” everyone was promised.

UPDATE: Black people are in, but gay people can go to hell (apparently). It’s always something. Can’t we all just get along?

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One response to “Obligatory US election 2008 post…with prediction updates!

  1. “I’m scoring her an EPIC FAIL”

    Indeed :)

    I predict that if the fundi crazy types at my work don’t simmer down I am going to say something rude and get in trouble.

    /deep breath/