I Heart the Bradley Effect

Presidential Elections, Uncategorized, US Elections
Tom Bradley greeting supporters, 1973

Tom Bradley greeting supporters, 1973

I have long been skeptical of whether the Bradley Effect is something that continues to be a problem for black politicians. Deval Patrick‘s 2006 gubernatorial campaign and Barack Obama’s 2004 senatorial campaign and 2008 primary campaign, among other examples, all seemed to show that whatever validity the Bradley Effect might have had, its power has faded.

This article from someone who was there argues that the Bradley Effect was never actually a legitimate phenomenon. While that may or may not be true, this post by Nate Silver collects some of the latest studies showing the disappearance or dissipation of the Bradley Effect, and speculates as to why things may have changed.

However — if people believe the Bradley effect is a legitimate concern, it leads to emails like this!

Dear MoveOn member,

Obama’s now ahead in most polls. That’s great, but there’s just one problem: the polls could be wrong.

This is an unprecedented election. No one knows how racism may affect what voters tell pollsters—or what they’ll do in the privacy of the voting booth. And there are plenty of other unknowns.

We can’t afford to take any chances with the most important election of our lifetimes. Whatever the polls say, we all need to get out, talk to voters, and make sure every single Obama supporter makes it to the polls.

The Obama campaign in Columbus needs more volunteers this week for a big voter-outreach effort. Click here to sign up:

And THAT is fabulous news. If there is one thing I’m worried about in the run-up to the election it’s complacency. I worry about a premature coronation, and the backlash that would result. If everyone takes a chill pill and says “well, the polls look good, but I dunno if I trust the polls,” and continues to work hard and take nothing for granted… great.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. sozobe  •  Oct 15, 2008 @5:32 am

    Quick note — I wrote this yesterday, and added only some formatting and the photo this morning before posting it, so it’s not a reaction to nimh’s post below. I agree both that things are looking pretty good and that Tapper did some cherry-picking. Hillary made some hay with “it’s not over yet,” though, and that can be even more potent in the lead-up to election day (as opposed to the more gradual primary system). So an element of caution makes me happy.

  2. nimh  •  Oct 15, 2008 @7:07 am

    For sure.

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