Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Will the "Bradley effect" help McCain? According to's poll of polls, Obama is now up about 5 percent points over McCain. At a moment like this, Republicans might be hoping that the "Bradley effect" is in operation; that a sizeable number of so-called bigoted whites are saying they plan to vote for Barack when they really intend to vote for the white guy. Data from Realpolitics compared with the recent AP-Yahoo News poll indicate that there is no such effect at work.

The AP survey was conducted between August 27th and September 5th, and is unique in that telephone interviewers direct respondents to the Internet or to loaned equipment so that answers are private. People might be unwilling to admit to others that they plan to vote for a white candidate over a black one (I'm skeptical about that) but why lie to a computer?

According to the results, Obama was up 4 to 5 points during that period of time. I looked at the other nine national polls that were taken during that period (data provided by Realclearpolitics), and I calculated a simple average which turned out to be a 5.1 point advantage for Barack. Respondents are telling telephone interviewers the same thing that they are telling the computer, so there is no dishonesty. There is some evidence from other races that whites might change their minds last minute, and that late deciders might break for McCain, but there is little reason to expect that current polls are off by much.

One factor that might benefit Obama is that surveys sometimes under-sample cellphone users. This is a younger group, and consequently is more likely to vote for Barack.


  1. Anonymous11:00 PM

    McCain and Obama do not different on issues which are racially charged. McCain is not running to get rid of affirmative action, welfare, or other government social programs which provide disproportionately benefit to minority groups. David Duke, on the other had, was.

  2. Anonymous8:10 AM

    Anon. is making a oog point, I think. Obama and McCain generally are in agreement on so many issues that a lot of voters are saying to themselves "well shoot, why not take a chance on Obama?"

  3. Anonymous11:37 PM

    Go. Out. And. Learn. Empathy. You'll gain a whole wonderful understanding of the causal relationships behind many of these cute little 'facts' that you are so fond of espousing. you're still a hateful misguided boy with a minor penchant for faux-economics and a teenager's attention starved need to be offensive. It's not very effective. You think of yourself as a candid intellectual who isn't afraid to tackle race as an issue, but your hypothesis are rooted in a highly bigoted confirmation bias. It's a common foible to attempt to hide behind statistics to justify racism, without any attempt at locating an underlying rationale for why these statistics exist. This blog has repeatedly proven itself to be an exercise in dehumanizing other people through skin deep data analysis.

  4. Anonymous1:03 AM

    Euler --

    Go spew your postmodern lefty blamange elsewhere. Not many here are interested.

    Facts have meaning even when they are disturbing or downright sacrilege to leftist ideologues.

  5. "It's a common foible to attempt to hide behind statistics to justify racism..."

    Did you know that 10% of blog commenters are assholes?

  6. Anonymous9:12 AM

    What is the nature of the Bradley Effect though? Is it that some people are embarrassed to tell pollsters that they aren't voting black like a Good Person should? Or is it that people tell themselves they want to vote black like a Good Person, but chicken out at the last minute?

    By the way, there was no Bradley Effect evidenced in the primaries, and it's really doubtful it's true for the election too.

    The idea that prejudice against black people is a huge force this election is the biggest media lie of all. In reality only 4% of people say they wouldn't vote for a black man, but some 42% of people say they wouldn't vote for a 72 year old. Where is the media concern about this prejudice that's 10 times as large as the black prejudice??

    Jacob Weisberg says that if Obama loses it's because of racism. Buuuuullshit. The numbers are clear that if Obama wins it's entirely because of prejudice against old people.

    If the Republicans would have elected a young Catholic male, this election would have been in the bag, no question. But this election was all about putting a bunch of demographic weirdos on stages.

    To paraphrase Wesley Snipes: Never bet on diversity.

  7. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Sorry, I said 4%, the number is 5%.

    The number for women is 11%. Yet how much more did we hear about prejudice hurting Obama than hurting Clinton? Or Palin for that matter.

    There's this need to believe blacks are always the Most Discriminated Against Group Ever, but where's the beef? It's time to start demanding evidence, and stop letting people get away with this shit.

  8. Anonymous9:52 AM

    My counter-points to Weisberg:

    1) Obama won the primaries because of sexism.

    Hillary Clinton won the popular vote (50.5% vs 49.5%) yet was not nominated, because of sexism. 6% more people say they would not vote for a woman than those who say they would not vote black, so Clinton really won 53.5% to 46.5. Such a huge lead would have resulted in nomination without question.

    2) If Obama wins the election it's because of ageism.

    49.3% of people say they are voting for Obama compared to 43.3% for McCain. A 6% lead. But some 37% more people say they would not vote for a 72 year old than those who say they will not vote for a black man. So McCaim really should win 61.8% to 30.8%.

    Now if this is immaterial because we're allowed to use group generalities to judge the cognitive traits and health of old people, then we should be able to do the same thing about black people.

    Obama's blackness means he is more likely to be radical, more likely to be corrupt, and more likely to get involved in scandal.

    Already the Wright, Ayers, Rezko, Alinsky, and Michelle associations prove the first two. Obama is a black politician so radicalism and corruption are in his likely orbit.

  9. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Honestly, we won't know if the Bradley effect is real until November.


The Inductivist admits that culture matters

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