By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Obama effect

Is it possible that Barack Obama is falling victim to the Bradley effect? The Bradley effect takes its name from Tom Bradley, the African-American mayor of Los Angeles who was comfortably ahead in the polls in the 1982 California governor’s race.

Bradley ended up losing to a white Republican, George Deukmejian. It turned out that a small but decisive proportion of white voters had told pollsters they were planning to vote for Bradley but in fact ended up voting for Deukmejian. Some speculated that those white voters had lied to pollsters because they didn’t want to be perceived as racists.

Obviously you can vote for Hillary Clinton without being a racist. But the results so far certainly don’t jibe with the polls.

Obama could still win, especially since the college towns’ votes haven’t been counted yet.

On second thought: O-Fish-L, in his inimitable way, argues that it’s not likely Obama suffered from the Bradley effect in a Democratic primary — especially in New Hampshire, whose Democrats are overwhelmingly liberal.

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  1. Ryan

    I’ve been trolling the web for someone talking about the Bradley effect. You’re the first. I’m shocked but not surprised that it hasn’t been mentioned once in TV coverage. Too soon to say that race trumped gender in this primary, but it’s obvious that the tell-tale signs of Bradley effect are there, and therefore we should at least see the race break-down in polls vs. precincts.

  2. O-FISH-L

    What needs to be emphasized is that Bradley-Deukmejian was a General Election. Today’s “Obama Effect” occurred in a Democrat primary, with supposedly many new “progressive” Massachusetts ex-pats participating. If the moonbats are going to lie about supporting Obama –then go the other way — in the Democrat primary, what the heck will happen when more morderate Democrats and all Republicans and independents participate in the General?Like I’ve been saying for a while here, this country, at this time, will not elect a virtually unknown black man with at least some family ties to Islam, nor will the country elect Hillary. Edwards and the other also rans are now of no significance. Amazingly the Democrats have squandered their best chance in years.Perhaps the only saving grace for the Dems is that the Republicans have been laregly uninspiring thus far.

  3. Ryan

    I disagree. If Obama’s background was an outright deal-breaker come November, the signs would already be clear. He the most inspiring presidential candidate in over a decade, and most people recognize it. I think that the effect will be larger in a primary, where the risk of an Obama loss is that Clinton wins. Different ballgame come November, when the risk of an Obama loss is another four years of Republican reign. I do not believe any of the Rep candidates will inspire the undecideds. This is a change election.

  4. Hooks

    Andrew Sullivan channeling his inner Dan Kennedy?

  5. Anonymous

    Dan, is there any way we can archive o-fish-l’s prediction that the Dems will not win this year?

  6. the scoop

    I think the vote had a lot more to do with gender than race. A lot of women votes probably planned to vote for Obama and told pollsters those intentions, but when election day came and they realized they had a chance to help a woman get to the White House, they took it.

  7. Anonymous

    I think the most likely explanation is that a lot of the young people who said they would vote for Obama didn’t vote, and all the old people who said they were voting for Hillary did.Bob in Peabody

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