Worst political prediction

With the current Scottish Independence poll and 7 years of Nationalist government in Scotland, the former NATO Secretary General George Robertson’s statement in 1995 that "devolution will kill nationalism stone dead" seems a bit well wrong.

Anyother statements that you can think off. POlitical please, not military (to avoid this becoming another WW1 thread). Economic ones made are also welcome.

Quotes and context as well.

Mods, could you please fix the typo in the title.


Dewey defeats Truman


Probably not the worst, but the many pundits predicting up to the end that Romney would win in 2012 were wrong, and hilariously so.

As I recall there were also pundits predicting Obama would win 400+ electoral votes despite that being an obvious impossibility, short of Romney being found with a dead girl or a live boy two days before the election. Jim Cramer, who is quite good at predicting things that don’t happen, called it 440-98 for Obama.

Every Presidential election will involve many alleged professional political experts making predictions that not only end up being hilariously wrong, but that could never have been considered remotely possible by anyone conducting a reasonably objective analysis of the polling data.

A North Carolina backer of secession in late 1860 downplayed its cost by several orders of magnitude:

*Answering the charge that disunion meant war, secession supporter A. W. Venable (1799-1876) of Granville County declared that he would “wipe up every drop of blood shed in the war with this handkerchief of mine”; this may have been the most memorable statement of the convention campaign. *

From here: http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/commentary/52/entry

Going off the deep end in another direction, President Herbert Hoover was a bit off the mark in forecasting if FDR won in 1932 and repealed GOP-backed protectionist tariff:

*On 31 October in Madison Square Garden in New York City [Hoover] launched into a tirade: with no tariff, he warned, “the grass will grow in streets of a hundred cities, a thousand towns; the weeds will overrun the fields of millions of farms . . . their churches and schoolhouses will decay…” *

From here: http://www.presidentprofiles.com/Grant-Eisenhower/Herbert-Hoover-Election-of-1932-and-postpresidential-years.html#ixzz3D1efBuPA

Herbert Hoover after the crash: “Prosperity is just around the corner.”

No new taxes.

We must fight them over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.

GWB, 2003:

Francis Fukayama, 1992:

My vote goes to the latter.

I think we should also ignore self-serving “predictions” made by politicians. Nobody ever expects them to be true, especially not the politicians themselves.

Woodrow Wilson: “The war to end all wars” and “make the world safe for democracy”.

Not only win, but win by a landslide.

Then again they did reach this conclusion by “unskewing the polls”, so it was less of a prediction and more of an overt, avowed and dogged denial of reality. Obama winning (again) just did. not. compute.

Still entertaining to watch, though.

Related: Bush thought that the war would cost $50-$60 billion and that the $200 billion price tag spouted by opponents was grossly exaggerated, while as it happens the actual cost was in the trillions.

Chamberlain died in 1940 so he was only off by a couple of years. :smiley:

But “Our Time” != “My Time” :stuck_out_tongue:

We will be greeted as liberators by the Iraqis, with flowers and chocolates.
The Great Dick-less Cheney

Chamberlain is reviled for this phony “peace”. But it is seldom recognized that his effort to avert war allowed the Brits time to prepare for it. He does not deserve the ridicule.

During the debate over giving women the vote in the United States, one argument made was that it would swing the country to the right if enacted. It was felt that women were more conservative than men.

Lincoln misread the southern political situation in the months before the war. He believed that most southerners were generally unionists and that secession had been pushed through by a radical minority. He expected there to be a backlash against secession in the south in which the unionist majority would retake control from the secessionist minority. Then Lincoln figured he could reach an agreement with these more reasonable men to peacefully bring the southern states back into the United States on terms acceptable to both sides.