Ghost of Bradley Effect

Friday, August 27, 2010


We recorded this interview during the 2008 presidential campaign when the "Bradley effect" was getting a lot of media play. The term comes from Tom Bradley's 1982 California gubernatorial campaign, in which the discrepancy between polling (which predicted he was ahead) and the actual result (he lost) was attributed to white voters not being able to pull the lever for a black candidate. But Democratic and Republican strategists who worked on that campaign tell us there was no Bradley effect, even for Bradley. And Nate Silver of the blog 538 says the misnamed phenomenon hasn't been observed since the early 1990s.

Comments [2]

Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

I'm glad OTM ran this story, though its relationship to 'the media' is second-hand. Maybe it will be a small step toward curing conventional political journalism of framing everything political in America in a very dogmatic, 1967-liberalism manner. It's revealing that the framing of 'the Bradley effect' puts the onus on voters for 'lying' to pollsters without considering the others side of the coin - the tendency of conventional journalism to cry 'racism' so promiscuously. Our political journalism has not been of very high predictive ability as a result.

Aug. 30 2010 12:33 PM
Just a Thought

When the left win an election it is fair and uplifting; when the left lose an election it is based on ignorance and hate.
The Bradley Effect may just be the sore loser effect.
The fact you only focus on Democrat African-American candidates is very telling. African-American Republicans Ken Blackwell and Michael Steele lost to white Democrats in Ohio and Maryland respectively. Was racism a factor there and why do you ignore it? Thanks

Aug. 27 2010 08:26 PM

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