This election year has seen a lot of predictions. Only a few months ago, people were saying that Giuliani would win the Republican nomination. He was in the forefront of the news cycle and then... he disappeared. During the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, Giuliani became a ghost and that's where he ended up, briefly haunting Florida long enough to concede and endorse McCain.
Fred Thomspon received a lot of hype when he announced his candidacy on Jay Leno, but his campaign had all the sizzle of a damp sparkler in rainstorm.
More recently, the media seemed convinced Romney would win Florida since McCain couldn't count on the independent voters who helped him win New Hampshire. But against all conventional wisdom, McCain still won.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton was initially considered "inevitable." Obama's win in Iowa quickly changed that causing those same pundits to assume she was out of the race completely! New Hampshire had them again turning 180 degrees, thinking that Obama might have been outflanked -- until he won in South Carolina.
If this race has proven anything, it's that the conventional wisdom of the pundits, pollsters, and analysts has often been consistently wrong.
I think their incorrect predictions are caused in part because they believe their own hype. Instead of examining the (let's face it, very fickle) mood of the people, they report on polls, spin, and what they hear from their colleagues (who are reporting on polls, spin and what they hear from their colleagues).
I certainly don't have any extra prescience here. However, I did correctly predict (here) that McCain would win New Hampshire when everyone else seemed to think it would go to Romney. I further explained my reasoning in a short column called Republicans Hate Romney which sparked a debate between myself and Nzingha Clarke who pointed out that Republicans also dislike McCain. While it's true that some Republicans consider McCain a "liberal," this is primarily the far right, religiously fanatic, overzealous Rush Limbaugh wing. About the only positive result of The Bush administration is that it's finally moved the party away from the hard right neocon agenda that spent eight years destroying this country.
At any rate, with the neocons out of favor the Republicans have been forced to choose from a more "moderate" list of candidates. Given the choice between Romney and McCain, I think most Republicans are going to rally behind McCain who will most likely take a solid lead tomorrow.
On the Democratic side, I'm surprised to say that it's far closer. At the beginning of the year, I felt that Republicans, having a longer list of potential candidates, would still be up in the air at this point while one of the two leading Democratic nominees would have pulled ahead. Interestingly enough, tomorrow could still find the Democrats exactly where they are today -- divided. My own prediction has gone back and forth during the writing of this column, first Obama, then Clinton. However, I think that is my prediction: tomorrow will bring us no closer as both candidates will remain in a dead heat.
Jumping even further ahead, here is my current prediction on possible outcomes in November. Keep in mind that anything could happen between now and then that could sway my opinion in a different direction. But at this moment in time, here are my match ups (and although I don't think Romney will get the nomination, I'm still going to give him the benefit of the doubt and include him):
Romney vs. Clinton - Clinton wins.
Obama vs. Romney - Obama wins
McCain vs. Clinton - McCain wins.
Obama vs. McCain - ? (This is the most interesting race.)