Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Is The Bradley Effect Gone?

We have talked before about how a “Bradley Effect” (more white voters telling pollsters they will vote for a black candidate than actually do) could hinder Obama from winning the White House even with his large polling leads.  But there is evidence in the primaries that Obama won MANY white voters (even in traditionally racist areas of the country) and some studies showing that the Bradley effect may have disappeared or, at least, lessened.  Nate Silver has excellent thoughts on this that are worth reading, and he cites an article by Lance Tarrance (the pollster that worked on L.A. mayor Tom Bradley’s campaign) that argues that the polling was flawed in that race and Bradley’s internal polling showed a much closer race.  No matter whether one supports McCain or Obama, we all have an interest in eliminating racism. (Silver’s suggestion that one see if a “Bradley effect” exists for Republican black candidates, few as they are, is an excellent one for those interested who have the skills.)  So, I urge you to read the article and, as you discuss the election with friends, urge them to vote for the best candidate–regardless of race.  (If a woman was at the top of either ticket–people seldom vote for a ticket because of the VP candidate–I would be having similar posts about overcoming sexism in elections, too.)


October 13, 2008 - Posted by | prejudice, race, U.S. politics


  1. Michael,

    I think people need to remember that the election we’re talking about took place more than a quarter century ago. California has a history, as well, of electing Republican governors. So, while there may have been some effect, I’m not sure it’s as high as people might think — and that was then and this is now. Or, so I hope!

    Comment by Bob Cornwall | October 16, 2008

  2. We want more posts! We want more posts!

    Comment by Anonymous | October 23, 2008

  3. The real question is, Is the Michael Westmoreland-White gone?

    Comment by Thom Stark | November 3, 2008

  4. I’d say: yes, Bradley Effect is dead. He died when we hit 330 electoral votes.

    Comment by dcrowe | November 5, 2008

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