New Year Predictions: A Look Back and a Look Forward

At the end of last year, I made six predictions for 2013. How did they turn out?

1. Bashar al-Assad will no longer be in power in Syria at the end of 2013. However, the civil war will continue.

Half right. The civil war has continued, but shortly after I wrote this, the tide of conflict turned against the rebels, and Assad seems assured of retaining power for some time.

2. U.S. troops will not be sent to Mali.

Correct, although the situation in Mali remains unstable.

3. The PPACA will suffer another flesh wound when Oklahoma wins its case against the federal exchange subsidies.

No-decision. The case has yet to be decided on the merits at any level, though legal commentators are taking it seriously. I still think Oklahoma will win.

4. The sequester will not occur.

Half right. The sequester did occur for one fiscal year: FY 2013. For FY 2014 and 2015 it was reversed.

5. Scott Brown will win back a seat in the U.S. Senate in a special election.

Wrong. He decided not to run. However, he may yet run for Senate from New Hampshire in 2014.

6. An assault weapons ban will not pass the House.

Correct. In retrospect this was an easy call, but shortly after Sandy Hook it looked as if anything might happen.

Looks like 3 out of 5 — not so great, but not enough sample size to say whether I’m doing any better than random chance. Here are some predictions for 2014:

  1. Oklahoma will win its case (carry over from last year).
  2. U.S. real GDP growth will top 3% in 2014.
  3. Obama’s net approval rating will be higher on election day 2014 than it is now (-11.3).
  4. Republicans will pick up a few seats in both the House and Senate, but not quite enough to take back the Senate.
  5. Dems will retain control of the executive council and the governorship in New Hampshire, but the GOP will retain the Senate and take back the House.
  6. The Scottish independence referendum will fail by about 10 percentage points.
  7. Catalonia will hold an informal “public consultation” with multiple options, in which “independence” will win a plurality and not a majority. Without a strong mandate for any particular alternative, political wrangling will continue indefinitely.
  8. There will be no successful deal to roll back agricultural trade barriers in the Doha Round

Update: What I mean by the Catalan plebiscite’s not yielding a majority to independence is that a majority of all those voting will either vote against independence or abstain on the second question. For another example of how this can happen in a two-question referendum, see my analysis of the Puerto Rico statehood vote. The Catalan “referendum” is much better worded but could still yield no majority.

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