In a week’s time, Americans will go to the polls for what is known as the mid-term elections. Inevitably, the results will lead to much speculation on what it means for Donald Trump’s chances of re-election in 2020. However, I will be surprised if many commentators will look to history as a guide to 2020 and so I will fill in this gap with the help of fun 10 question quiz about US presidents.
As I write this, a plethora of economic forecasts are making the rounds in the news in the UK. In all cases, the forecasters have failed to publish their track record and these days, I will not pay attention to what they say unless their forecasts are accompanied by a track record. But, how does one go about presenting a forecasting track record to prove that one has forecasting skill? To demonstrate, I will analyse how well opinion polls have predicted General Elections in the UK and measure their track record. I must confess I was surprised at what I found out and I would urge all opinion pollsters to take note of my results.
With only 3 or 4 games to go for the teams of the Premier League, most of the season’s excitement has dissipated. Man City have wrapped up the title, the top 7 who will be playing in Europe next season is more or less settled and the former 10-team dogfight for relegation has resolved itself with a 4 point gap between the bottom 3 and the rest. Probably, the only remaining uncertainties are who will take 4th place (Spurs or Chelsea) and will Southampton escape relegation at the expense of Swansea?
After many weeks of a relegation dogfight involving up to 10 teams, it now appears that an exciting finish to the 2018 EPL season is becoming less likely as a gap opens up between the bottom 3 and the rest. After 34 matches, another gap is opening up between the 4 prediction methods I use and one method so far has a 74% success rate in predicting the match outcome.
The last 3 general elections have seen some significant polling errors. In 2010, the Lib Dems were significantly overestimated, in 2015 the Conservatives were underestimated and last year saw the largest ever underestimate in the Labour vote. Whilst these errors suggest that the polling industry is struggling with general elections these days, a natural question to ask is “are all pollsters equally bad or are some better than others?”
We now know the answer to who will win the 2018 6 Nations Championship. Ireland won the title with a match to spare after England failure against France resulted in my second forecasting error of the championship. There is still much to play for though in the last week with the main question being whether England do to Ireland what Ireland did to England last year and stop them from winning a Grand Slam. Whilst I am cheering on England, it is St. Patricks Day and I do have some Irish blood in me so part of me does wish Ireland well.
My first published attempt to predict the outcomes of Premier League matches got off to a good start last week with 23% of my predictions getting the right scoreline and 52% getting the right outcome. I have updated my prediction of the final league which continues to point to an incredibly tight relegation battle, especially for my team Newcastle United.
Be careful of what you wish for! Two weeks ago, I said I was hoping for an error in my predictions based on World Rugby’s rankings and I finally got one and it was Scotland overturning my team England …
With 10 games to go, the 2018 EPL is now entering its final quarter and supporters of all teams are starting to wonder where their team will finish in the league. As a Newcastle United supporter, my team is stuck right in the middle of one of the tightest relegation battles in living memory. At the other end of the table, my wife’s team Spurs are almost certainly out of the running for the title but Champions League qualification is definitely in their sights. To set expectations, I have used a statistical method known as Poisson modelling to predict the final league table come May 13th and I will update this post after every round of games between now and then so please bookmark this page.
After two weeks of the 2018 6 Nations, all 6 of my match predictions have been correct. Whilst this might be vindication of the World Rugby ranking model, the last thing we want in sport is a perfect prediction model otherwise what’s the point? Where would be the excitement of watching sport live? So I am hoping for an incorrect prediction soon …