On the accuracy of political pundits

Much has been said about a recent study which finds that the predictions of political pundits are accurate only about half of the time. This finding has been used to mock political pundits for being only slightly more useful than flipping a coin. I certainly agree that political pundits often have a superficial perspective and rely more often on anecdotal, rather than systematic, evidence.

This study, however, shows that there are some common similarities amongst the pundits and politicians who tend to do a better-than-average job with their predictions. Specifically, non-lawyers and political liberals tend to make more accurate predictions.

The study also provided a list of pundits who, on average, tended to be much more reliable in their predictions than others: Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, Ed Rendell, Chuck Schumer, Kathleen Parker, Nancy Pelosi, David Brooks, Eugene Robinson, and Hank Paulson.

Note: this study specifically did not examine the predictions of political scientists. That will be a topic for another day.

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