As we all know by now, the vast majority of political pundits (including yours truly) completely misread the recent Alberta election.
We all thought the Wildrose Party would bloom; but instead it got cut down by the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party lawn mower and thrown onto the compost heap of electoral failure.
What can we learn from this? I mean, what can we learn besides the fact that I am terrible when it comes to making up metaphors?
Well, one lesson we can learn from the Wildrose loss is the inherent dangers of making pundit-style predictions. By the way, political scientists often describe these predictions with the technical term: "making a wild guess."
Fortunately, however, there are ways to improve such guesses.
For one thing, instead of relying on public opinion polls when making a prediction, try using a method that's slightly more scientifically accurate, such as throwing darts at a board or rolling a die or flipping a coin.
Mind you, even using those methods won't absolutely ensure prediction success. The fact is nothing is more difficult to pull off than a successful pundit prediction.
Indeed, although the punditry failure in Alberta made headlines, it's not the first time "experts" have been completely and utterly wrong.
In fact, in the past, pundits have made some really egregious mistakes.
But I am not going to list them, as that would require research.
Instead here are ten failed punditry predictions, which I totally made up:
"No Cabinet Minister will ever pay more than $14 for a glass of orange juice." -- 2005
"Now that Nazi Germany is defeated, one name that will never, ever be uttered again in the House of Commons is, Hitler." -- 1945
"I have seen the Progressive Conservative Party's future and his name is Joe Clark!" -- 1979
"I have seen the Progressive Conservative Party's future and her name is Kim Campbell!" --- 1993
"I have seen the Progressive Conservative Party's future and his name is Peter MacKay." -- 2003
"One thing is for sure, the NDP leadership convention will NOT be the most boring, horribly drawn out and technology-glitched event in Canadian history" -- 2012
"The emergence of the Sun News Network will usher in a period of serene conviviality in Canada's news media community." -- 2011
"A political party that wants to ensure an election victory should secure as its leader someone who has lived outside the country for 30 years and who also possesses a post-graduate degree from a prestigious American Ivy League university." -- 2009
"Now that Montreal has won the Stanley Cup, you can be sure we will see many, many more Canadian-based teams win the NHL championship." --- 1993
"When it comes to fiscal responsibility, the best thing a government can do is purchase an untried, and vastly complicated piece of military hardware with no competitive bidding." -- 2010.
So you see, even highly trained and professional pundits have been wrong from time to time in the past.
Mind you, I can predict with a fair degree of certainty that experts will always get it right in the future.
At least so says my Ouija board.
(This article originally appeared on Gerrynicholls.com )
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