In the run-up to the 2010 midterm elections, Fox's Dick Morris offered numerous incorrect--and often wildly off-mark--electoral predictions in fundraising emails and media appearances, in which he also occasionally got the names of candidates he was promoting wrong. This follows Morris' long history of off-the-mark political prognostications.
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Morris offers up numerous incorrect predictions regarding 2010 midterms
Morris: "The historical record is 74 seats, set in 1922. I'm confident we're past that." On the November 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Morris said: "I believe the Republicans will win 60 to 80 seats in the House, and I personally believe it could go higher." He later stated: "We are in uncharted waters. The historical record is 74 seats, set in 1922. I'm confident we're past that." Morris also said: "[Y]ou're going to have 100 new faces in the Republican caucus out of 250." Morris also wrote in a September 29 National Review Online column:
The 2010 landslide will likely set the record for the largest transfer of House seats in an off- year election. The prior mark of 74 seats in 1922 (a Democratic gain in the wake of Harding's scandals and the Teapot Dome investigation) will probably be eclipsed.
In fact, Republicans picked up at least 60 seats, with eight races still undecided as of November 9.
Morris: "I believe when independent voters hear the message we are going to send them, we are going to win new 100 Republican seats." In an October 5 fundraising email to his followers, Morris stated: "I believe when independent voters hear the message we are going to send them we are going to win new 100 Republican seats, giving Republicans a majority of over 60 votes in the new Congress!"
Morris: GOP House pick-ups "could go as high as 100." On the September 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Morris stated: "I think there's a chance that the Republicans could win as many as 100 seats. I'm predicting 60 to 80 now, but it could go as high as 100."
Morris: Republicans will "definitely win nine seats in the Senate." On the November 1 Hannity, Morris stated: "I think [the Republicans are] going to definitely win nine seats in the Senate. And there are two that may fall, giving us -- giving us the majority." In fact, Republicans picked up six Senate seats, and Democrats retained a 51-47 majority, with two independents who caucus with Democrats.
Morris had previously predicted GOP could pick up 13 Senate seats. On the August 31 edition of Fox & Friends, Morris stated: "I think that the Republicans at the moment are leading, or have in effect won, up to nine [Senate] seats. I think they've won for or five, and they're leading in another four or five, bringing it up to nine. They need 10. And then I think there are four races that are very likely to furnish the 10th and maybe an 11th, 12th, and 13th as well."
Morris declared Gillibrand -- who went on to win by 26 points -- "still beatable." In a September 16 New York Post column titled, "Still beatable: DioGuardi can best Gillibrand," Morris suggested that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was "very vulnerable" in her race against GOP challenger Joe DioGuardi and that "[i]f the national party and its New York adherents give DioGuardi the money he deserves, he has a real shot." He later called DioGuardi "the best bet for that 10th seat" for Republicans to claim a majority in the Senate. Morris also hyped DioGuardi's chances the day before the election, saying on Hannity, "[D]on't count out" DioGuardi." In fact, Gillibrand defeated DioGuardi, 62 percent to 36 percent.
Morris: Colorado is "another takeaway" for Republicans. On the November 1 Hannity, Morris predicted that the Colorado Senate race between incumbent Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican Ken Buck would be "another takeaway" for Republicans. In fact, Bennet defeated Buck, keeping the seat in Democratic control.
Morris predicted Angle would win NV Senate race. On the November 1 Hannity, Morris included Republican Nevada senatorial candidate Sharron Angle among his predicted GOP Senate pick-ups. In fact, Majority Leader Harry Reid defeated Angle.
Morris: "Rossi and Murray are dead even tied, which I think it means Rossi is going to win." Later on Hannity, Morris stated: "[Y]ou have Washington state, where Rossi and Murray are dead even tied, which I think it means Rossi is going to win." In fact, incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray defeated GOP challenger Dino Rossi.
Morris: "[D]on't count out Linda McMahon." On the November 1 Hannity, Morris hyped GOP Connecticut senatorial candidate Linda McMahon, saying, "[D]on't count out Linda McMahon in Connecticut." In fact, McMahon lost to Democratic candidate Richard Blumenthal by more than 11 percentage points.
Morris: "Christine O'Donnell may yet pull out a win." In a September 24 New York Post column, Morris wrote that GOP Delaware senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell "may yet pull out a win." Morris also hyped O'Donnell on the November 1 Hannity, saying, "Don't count out Christine O'Donnell in Delaware." In fact, Democratic candidate Chris Coons defeated O'Donnell by more than 16 percentage points.
Morris: Hoyer and Frank "might be within reach." In an October 12 Hill column, Morris wrote that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Rep. Barney Frank "might be within reach" by their GOP challengers. In fact, Hoyer won his race by more than 28 percentage points, while Frank won by more than 10 percentage points.
Morris: "[E]vidence indicates" that Dingell is "in jeopardy." Also in his October 12 Hill column, Morris stated that "evidence indicates that some of the Democratic lions are in jeopardy," including Rep. John Dingell. In fact, Dingell defeated his GOP challenger by more than 16 percentage points.
Morris: Mike Yost "can and will win if he gets funding." In an October 8 email to his followers, Morris wrote that Florida GOP House candidate Mike Yost "can and will win if he gets funding." Yost lost to Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown by more than 28 percentage points.
Morris: Rankin "is en route to beating Mike Ross" in Arkansas. In his October 8 email, Morris wrote that Arkansas GOP House candidate Beth Anne Rankin "is en route to beating" Democratic Rep. Mike Ross. Ross defeated Rankin by more than 17 percentage points.
Morris made far fewer correct predictions
Morris accurately predicted winners in North Dakota, Arkansas, and Indiana Senate races. On the November 1 Hannity, Morris accurately predicted the winners of the Senate races in North Dakota, Arkansas, and Indiana. From Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (host): Right. But all right, let's go through it, because we know certain -- certain flips are happening. North Dakota is certainly one of them.
HANNITY: Arkansas is number three. Indiana is another.
MORRIS: Those are gone.
Morris accurately predicted outcomes of PA, IL, and WI Senate races. On the November 1 Hannity, Morris also accurately predicted that GOP senatorial candidates would win in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Indeed, GOP candidates Pat Toomey (PA), Mark Kirk (IL), and Ron Johnson (WI) each won their respective races. From Hannity:
MORRIS: Those are of course gone. But then you also have Toomey, that's well -- that's way ahead.
HANNITY: All right. So that's four.
MORRIS: Pennsylvania. You have Colorado, which is four or five ahead, that's -- that's another takeaway.
HANNITY: That's Buck. Yes.
MORRIS: You have Wisconsin -- Johnson is seven or eight ahead. You have Angle, who is three or four ahead in Nevada. You have Kirk who's three or four ahead in Illinois. And when -- that's eight.
Morris stated that Spratt's seat was "in jeopardy." In his October 12 Hill column, Morris wrote that "evidence indicates" that Rep. John Spratt (SC) was "in jeopardy." Indeed, Spratt lost to GOP challenger Mick Mulvaney by more than 9 percentage points.
If Griffith "gets his name out there, he will beat" Boucher. In his October 8 email, Morris wrote that if GOP Virginia House candidate Morgan Griffith "gets his name out there, he will beat" incumbent Democratic Rep. Rich Boucher. Indeed, Griffith went on to defeat Boucher.
It wasn't just Morris' predictions that were off: He also repeatedly got candidates' names wrong
Morris promoted "a real Republican conservative named Scott Austin" whose name is actually Austin Scott. In an October 18 article, Morris promoted Georgia GOP House candidate Austin Scott as a "real Republican conservative named Scott Austin" running against incumbent Democrat Jim Marshall. Morris wrote, "Why vote for the second-best Republican -- the Democrat Marshall -- when there is a real Republican conservative named Scott Austin running against him?"
Morris repeatedly gets Gillibrand's name wrong. In a September 15 article on his website, Morris referred to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as "Kristin Gillibrand." In an October 6 message to his followers, Morris referred to Gillibrand as "Kristen Gillibrand."
Morris repeatedly referred to Fiorina as "Fiorini." On the August 31 edition of Fox & Friends, Morris referred to California GOP senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina as "Fiorini." In an October 6 message posted on his website, Morris again referred to Fiorina as "Fiorini."
Morris referred to Rep. Ed Perlmutter as "Dave Pearlmutter." In an October 4 message to his followers, Morris wrote that Colorado GOP House candidate Ryan Frazier "faces a long time incumbent, Dave Pearlmutter." In fact, Frazier faced Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter.
Morris has a long history of off-the-mark political predictions
Morris touted Pirro's chances against Clinton in 2006 Senate race. As Media Matters has documented, in columns in The Hill and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and appearances on Fox News in 2005, Morris repeatedly touted New York Republican Jeanine Pirro's 2006 Senate campaign against Clinton. Morris asserted, regarding Clinton running for a second Senate term, "[T]he first thing I would tell Hillary, if I were advising Hillary, is you're crazy to run for the Senate." He also asserted that Clinton "might just take a pass" rather than face Pirro in the election, and even stated, "My bet is that Clinton thinks the better of it and drops out of the race if Pirro comes on strong." However, it was Pirro -- not Clinton -- who, trailing badly in polls, dropped out of the race on December 21, 2005.
Morris predicted Lazio would defeat Clinton in 2000 Senate race; Clinton went on to win by more than 12 percentage points. Morris also predicted that Rep. Rick Lazio (R-NY) would defeat Clinton in the 2000 New York Senate race. One day prior to the election, on the November 6, 2000, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Morris asserted: "I think Lazio is, at this point, more likely to win it than Hillary, because, if Hillary is at 48 percent -- or even at 49 percent, or even at 50 percent -- a lot of her vote of minorities, a lot of her -- who have no real reason to vote in the presidential race." Lazio lost to Clinton by more than 12 percentage points, even though he outspent her by nearly $11 million.
Morris also made significantly off-base predictions about the 2008 presidential election. According to his final predicted 2008 electoral map, released on October 27, 2008, Morris labeled Arkansas "lean Obama." Sen. John McCain won Arkansas by 20 percentage points, and according to Pollster.com, Obama led in that state in only one poll throughout the entire race -- by two percentage points in a June 11-30 Zogby Internet survey. Morris' final electoral map also had Louisiana and Tennessee as "tossup" states; McCain won each of these states by at least 15 percentage points.