Several times over the years I've told the story of the first big political prediction I got right - less than a year into my first job in journalism. It was the fall of 1998, in the build up to President Clinton's impeachment, and I was telling my officemates that I thought Democrats would pick up seats in the November election. I tried to write about it but my editor wouldn't let me. (He said I would embarrass the publication.) This was contrary to what virtually everyone else predicted. So what special insight did I have? Really, none. I watched the public polling and paid attention to what those polls were saying. Contrary to the widespread predictions of a GOP wave, they suggested a modest Democratic gain, which is precisely what happened. Everyone else saw the same polls. But almost everyone else had come up with explanations for why they couldn't be right.
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