#TBT: Dick Morris Predicts Landslide for Romney

Dick Morris

“I’ve made a living doing this for 40 years. I know how to read a poll. . . . You hold me accountable.”

Some predictions are so spectacularly wrong that you get fired from your job and someone goes and names an award for bad predictions after you. That’s what happened to ex-Clinton pollster and campaign manager Dick Morris in the 2012 presidential election.

Appearing on Fox News just two days before voters went to the polls, Morris confidently proclaimed that Romney would win the White House by a comfortable margin. Of course, history will forever reflect that Obama won a second term.

As for Morris, he didn’t appear on Fox News for three months following the debacle (and his contract was ultimately not renewed), and blogger Andrew Sullivan gave out the Morris Award “for stunningly wrong political, social and cultural predictions.”

Romney’s Path to 325 Electoral Votes

“We’re going to win by a landslide!” Morris told interviewer Greta Van Susteren. Morris continued, “It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history.” Someone was about to be surprised, but Morris probably wasn’t expecting it to be himself.

“Romney is going to carry 325 electoral votes,” Morris said. Included in those electoral votes are states that Obama won in the 2008 election: Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Colorado. “This is going to be a landslide.”

Morris also claimed that Romney was on track to win the popular vote by at least 5 percentage points.

Method to the Madness

2008 Electoral Map from New York Times
2008 Electoral Map from New York Times

Did Morris base his conclusion on “intuition” or “smelling the tea leaves”? Not according to him. In fact, he said that he based his predictions on reading polls that said Obama was going to win.

Morris mentioned a recent Pew Research poll that put Obama up by a three-point margin, 50-47. Reading further into the poll, Morris noted, the sample contained 4 points more Democrats than Republicans. Morris pointed out that this sample size isn’t representative of the American public according to Gallup, another polling organization. Gallup said that the sample should be 3 points more Republican than Democrat.

In addition, Morris claimed that Romney voters were more likely to vote than Obama voters. And then there’s the rule of thumb that undecided voters always vote against the incumbent. With Obama facing all those odds, Morris claimed that Romney should win by 8 or 9 points.

“Either you’re really really right . . . or you’re off your rocker,” Susteren said.

“I’ve made a living doing this for 40 years. I know how to read a poll. . . . You hold me accountable.”

Holding Morris Accountable

2012 Electoral Map from New York Times
2012 Electoral Map from New York Times

Ultimately, Obama lost North Carolina and Indiana, but he picked up every other state that he won in 2008. Morris lost his job, and perhaps his regard among Republicans who looked to him for confidence that Romney would be sworn in as the 45th POTUS. Getting such a crucial prediction wrong could have ended Morris’s career in polling.

So what’s @DickMorrisTweet up to now? Flogging his new book, Armageddon: How Trump Can Beat Hillary. It’s currently #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. More evidence that being spectacularly wrong isn’t always a career killer in political punditry.

Update: O’Reilly Holds Morris Accountable

H/t to u/Robvicsd on Reddit.