Bradley Effect: Under or Overstating Race?

In ELECTION 08, HOT BUTTON TOPIC, Politics, PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION on October 16, 2008 at UTC.49.31.

Former mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley an African-American had a sizable lead according to polls in the 1982 gubernatorial race in California. Bradley saw his lead evaporate on election day as he lost the race by 1 point. Those are the facts surrounding this often repeated term in within the lexicon from pundits, journalists, and voters.

Will it play a role in this election? Yes, the fact that race trumps all other issues, except for the economy isn’t hyperbole–its a matter of fact. Despite the fact that some want to obscure it in today’s electoral map doesn’t change the reality.

According to the latest poll from ABC News/Washington Post Barack Obama leads John McCain 53&-43%. Is that lead big enough considering the Bradley effect? Only time will tell.

Consider, these facts from past elections with African-American candidates. In 1989, Douglas Wilder was a candidate for governor in Virginia. According to polls Wilder had an 11 point lead going into election day, but when the votes were tallied he won, though only by 1 point. Bradley effect, you can judge? What else could it be?

During the same year in New York city, David Dinkins was running for mayor. According to polls he showed a 14 point lead, but when the votes were tallied his lead disappeared. Dinkins won, but with a narrow margin of 2 points. What do these different election races tell us about race & politics? Are they inseparable?

In fact, many media pundits are saying that Obama needs a 6-9 point cushion in pre-election national polls to cover the ‘effect’ to insure victory. However, what these pundits don’t seem to realize is that no margin is safe because to base reality, or rather perception on polls is fleeting illusion at best. We’ve seen this in the primary. Voters claim they’d vote for Obama in pre-primary polls, only for the nation to see Obama’s lead evaporate once voting began.

How do you explain this? The Bradley Effect or Racism? Both!

Democrat John Murtah was criticized today for calling Western Pennsylvania voters racist. Murtah, is white himself and is from the area, so I think he might know of what he speaks. His claim is that voters in the area will have a tough time voting for an African-American candidate. Though, Gov. Ed Rendell (sp) a former Sen. Clinton supporter has been trying to make inroads for the Obama campaign, this latest news from a Pennsylvania legislator is a setback.

Is race understated or overstated in this presidential election?

  1. First you have to define racism. Is it racism to vote for a candidate based on his race as well as to vote against a candidate based on his race?

    Then you have to factor in social acceptability bias. It is PC or socially acceptable to support a Black candidate if you’re White, but not to not support him.

    I think the Bradley / Wilder effect will actually have a larger than normal effect in this election. Then again, we have the large percentage of Black voters who are going to vote for Obama due to his race. That might offset the numbers somewhat.

  2. Sorry, quick addendum to my comment:

    I do not know how to even begin to qualify, codify, or quantify the race related voting based on backlash from the MSM and a lot of the Obama supporters – not Obama or his official campaign – near constant accusation of racism whenever Obama is criticized.

    Hell, I don’t even know what to call it – but I know it effects my perception of the issues and of Obama’s supporters and the MSM. Even I approved of Obama’s policy positions, I might – might, mind you – vote McCain for the sole reason of not allowing such behavior to succeed.

  3. Listen 43 Presidents of the United States have been white men. Did anyone ever ask voters (white) or otherwise if they were voting for these men because of their race? Hell no. The issue is the standard to which people of color are held to is far greater than the standard everyone else is. Still, Obama will win in spite of all these racist ignoble stereotypical challenges his campaign faces. America will be better b/c of his candidacy b/c now the world , as well as the U.S. is forced to confront racism & white supremacy head on!

    If he wasn’t a viable candidate or Democratic nominee this country will still harbor ‘closet white supremacist’ unchecked, unabashed, & unencumbered. You need Barack Obama, but probably due to your own prejudices you won’t admit the fact!

    CHJANGE is never greeted with open arms, rather fear & awesome respect. I suggest the latter, for it will make for a more palpable course for individuals & this country alike!

    Thanks for your post….

  4. Racism is a system of power!

    The power to control where people can live, enroll in school, receive injustice from the criminal justice system, redlining communities, taxation w/o representation, driving while black, guilty until proven innocent. I can go on & on, but I think you get the point.

    White people exist in a state of ‘transparency’ meaning they live in a country where their skin color isn’t obtrusive or divisive. They aren’t made to feel inferior based on their racial stock–hence they live in an ‘illusory bubble’ because this isn’t the reality! Or is it? NO, despite the failing attempt this lie has been eradicated.

    No, I don’t think its racist to vote for a candidate based on their race, just like its not sexist to vote for a candidate based on their gender. It might be narrow in scope & vision, but definitely not racist.

    Racism is the lie institutions tell to further & perpetuate ‘white supremacy’ when the truth is evident! Columbus discovered America, Thomas Jefferson didn’t father black children, Greece is the foundation of civilization, Black people were savages, so en-slavement served their best interest, Black people are intellectually & physically inferior etc.

    All of that is rooted in RACISM! Plain & simple, the rest of this stuff is just the way in which this Democratic Republic smoke screens the truth to instill F.E.A.R. & propagate hegemonic imperialism at the expense of innocents.

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