November 7, 2008

There was no Bradley Effect.

The post-election evidence shows.
"I certainly hope this drives a stake through the heart of that demon," Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political scientist and polling authority, said of the Bradley effect....

The Bradley effect was "a product of a particular political environment that seems to have passed us by," said Daniel Hopkins, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University who wrote a study this summer concluding that the phenomenon has disappeared.


Meade said...

"...the phenomenon has disappeared"

Just like that. Wow! He really is the messiah.

DADvocate said...

So when will the left quit calling everyone who disagrees with them racist?

Zachary Sire said...

Meanwhile, 7 out of 10 blacks voted against the gays in California. Thanks guys!

Meade said...

The Brokeblack Badly Effect.

Unknown said...

Along the lines of dadvocate, if we can say certain things are over then its time to transition from being victims. Hello Al, Jesse... what ya think? Good career while it lasted.

Sprezzatura said...

I hope at some point we find out if the BHO campaign was strategically using Bradley fears, "leaked" internal polling, and Rendell's public concern to goad the McCain folks into wasting time and money in PA.

Looking at the end result (+11), it appears that the BHO folks were in total control of the state.

If they were doing this strategically, as has been suggested around the tubes for several weeks, I'd be impressed. I love traps.

Mob said...

Now if only we can do something about the 46% of the country that is still racist.


KLDAVIS said...

A demon, really? The Bradley Effect was never about people being racist, it was about Leftists assuming people who weren't going to vote for the minority candidate were doing so because they were racists. It's part of the larger Left-wing ideology that those who don't by in to the system are worse than wrong, they are evil.

There is no proof that the Bradley effect had anything to do with extant racism in the voters who voted against Bradley.

Expat(ish) said...

If it isn't here now, does that mean maybe it never was here?

Also, does this mean we can have *certain* minorities STFU, stop whinging, and move on? I mean, really, at some point, could we?


Anonymous said...

See 'dead metaphors,' above.

William said...

The first time Giuliani ran against Dinkins, I voted for Dinkins. Giuliani seemed totally red-assed, and Dinkins seemed lofty and statesmanlike. It made me feel like a good person to transcend my prejudices and vote for the gentlemanly black man. Well, Dinkins while in office remained genteel and measured. As crime mounted, he was there to remind us that in a society where wealth was inequitably shared we must learn to be tolerant of squeegee men and subway panhandlers. Dinkins, as a mayor, was a failure. I voted for Giuliani in the next election. As a human being, Giuliani had many more flaws than Dinkins but only the most entrenched bigot would argue that Dinkins was a better mayor.....I think I am an example of the post-reverse-Bradley effect. Most people are aware that bigotry exists and do not wish to be bigots. When a credible black candidate emerges, they jump on the chance to demonstrate their tolerance. Having gotten this good-will vote out of their systems, they can return to their usual practice of choosing candidates to represent their interests instead of their goodness.

tim maguire said...

It's interesting to watch how the meaning of "The Bradley Effect" has changed since the election. Now it means people who won't vote for the 'black candidate' but don't want to admit it?

No, that is never what the Bradley Effect was. The Bradley Effect refers to people telling the pollsters what they think the pollster wants to hear because they don't feel like being judged for giving the 'wrong' answer. In this case, they don't feel like being accused of racism or thought of as racist. It has nothing at all to do with whether or not they actually ARE racist.

Nevertheless, it seems not to have existed in any appreciable amount.

peprgirl said...

When whites vote against a black man because of race its the Bradley Effect.

What is it called when millions of blacks vote for a black man only because he is black? Many of whom having never voted in their lifetimes for anyone?

Isn't that racist? Or am I racist for even asking the question?

I am so confused!!!

ricpic said...

There was more of an Acorn effect than a Bradley effect -- guaranteed.

Sprezzatura said...

millions of blacks vote for a black man only because he is black?

Can you support this claim?

BHO didn't get a much higher percentage of the black vote than other Ds have recently received.

The only black voters who could possibly be credited to the circumstance you're describing would be the small extra margin BHO received.

And, even in this small sub-group it's possible that some of them were turned off by the Rs just like many other Americans have been because of a variety of non-race reasons related to the candidates and issues. And, it's possible that some of them were persuaded because the BHO campaign spent more time, money, and effort reaching out to them then other D candidates.

Are you sure you can say there are millions of black folks who would have voted for McCain if BHO was white? Where is the supporting and historical data? Are you suggesting that this year McCain would have received a huge black vote if BHO was white?

I'm not seeing it, but I'm open to looking at the data your comment is based on.

froggyprager said...

I did not believe the Bradly Effect was an issue with phone polling (some of which is done with machines). No one would mind saying they are voting for McCain to a stranger on the phone. Maybe some people would be hesitant to tell a black person at an exit poll that they just voted for McCain but I don't see why this is an issue.

The larger issue is that there are some people who did not vote for Obama because he is black. There were many who overcame these feelings and did a bit of soul searching during this election but many did not. My in-laws are a bit racist but voted for Obama anyway. The right can not deny that there are some people, older white democrats and others who did not vote for Obama because he is black, he over came this but it was a factor. The interesting This American Life on the efforts to get folks to vote in Pennsylviania does a nice job exploring this issue (listen to the 2nd and 3rd sections). While many did not vote for Obama for legit reasons some did not vote for him because they are racist.

froggyprager said...

correction, listen to part 1 and part 3 of the This American Life show. Or listen to the whole thing.

Freder Frederson said...

When whites vote against a black man because of race its the Bradley Effect.

No, the Bradley Effect is when the polls show a significant lead for a black candidate, but 5--10 points of that lead evaporates in the actual vote. The assumption is that voters tell pollsters they are going to vote for the black candidate but when push comes to shove, they don't.

The polls this year pretty much got Obama's margin of victory correct. Consequently, there was no Bradley Effect--people were apparently honest with the pollsters and/or didn't change their minds at the very last minute.

The Bradley Effect doesn't describe that part of the polled population who are honest with pollsters and simply won't vote for a black person under any circumstances.

integrity said...

It was what I feared most, and it no longer exists. To see the final tally be so close to the poll averages was fantastic. I figured respondents really felt pressured to bullshit the pollsters, they didn't.

Bravura to all who spoke truth to pollsters, which seems to be everybody. Excellent.

Cedarford said...

1jpb said...
"millions of blacks vote for a black man only because he is black?"

Can you support this claim?

BHO didn't get a much higher percentage of the black vote than other Ds have recently received.

As Obama might say "Yes we can!" support that claim.

DC went 93-7 for Obama. The blacker the State or region, the more tribal votes Obama got.

The pattern holds true when it is a black candidate running against a white or Hispanic one in primaries. Something that pissed off Hispanics to no end when both the Hispanic and black candidate in Cali Dem were well qualified and likable, and hispanics went 60-40 in their selections and lost because the blacks went by skin color and racial solidarity and voted for the black guy 90-10.

That taught the hispanics a lesson in solidarity that they soon emulated to ensure they won "Their" share of identity-politics based offices and patronage.

The only time this doesn't hold is when blacks are induced to vote against a black Republican candidate, because obviously such a person is a traitor to his race and should have oreo cookies tossed at him.


The Bradley Effect is a phony sociological condition Lefty journalists created to describe voters feeling compelled by PC to speak positively about the black candidate, yet who may not vote for him for a variety of reasons. It serves the Marxist narrative to blame it all on "hidden whitey racism".
The Bradley Effect is no different than the Homo Effect, where people are asked by pollsters if they are progressive and open-minded enough to support gay weddings, are not bigoted about seeing two guys trying to swallow each others tongues in public....then vote agaist gay marriage by huge margins, for a variety of reasons.

Schools are even worse, as children and even university students quickly learn what they are expected to say about their feelings in public and in the classroom to advantage them or keep them from being punished by teachers & peers for deviant thinking - even if it may conflict with their private beliefs.

(Nothing is more bogus than a school poll or show of hands showing that 99% of kids say they religiously recycle everything..)

knox said...

Meanwhile, 7 out of 10 blacks voted against the gays in California. Thanks guys!

Meanwhile 7 out of 10 gays voted democrat, even though Obama is decidedly against gay marriage.

Anyway, blacks are overwhelmingly conservative about that sort of thing. They only vote (D) because they've been scammed. I don't happen to agree with blacks on gay issues--but I will never stop being surprised they vote (D).

Once written, twice... said...

I think John McCain can also be thanked for studiously avoiding using race in his campaign. Interestingly enough he did a much better job in this regard than what occurred during the Dem primary season.

Sprezzatura said...


You and I both know that you didn't address my question.

On average BHO didn't do much better with black voters than other recent D candidates. My other comment already noted how even this minimal increase could be related to factors other than black folks voting for BHO only because he's black.

One way to test this would be to look at BHO's performance w/ black folks in states where he was pushing for votes, then compare these results with the states where he wasn't pushing. If the black vote was not much higher in the states where BHO wasn't pushing, but it was higher in states where he was pushing you may be able to back out the influence of the BHO campaign targeting these voters.

One complicating factor would be that I think the BHO campaign was pushing somewhat hard in a lot non-swing states. I live in a very blue state and I was door knocked five times (including twice on the 4th.)

Another thing to look at would be BHO's advances with non-black demographics. It would be unfair to claim BHO's advances with black folks was "tribal" if BHO also did better with non-black folks than other recent D candidates. That is, you need to back out the fact that the whole country moved toward BHO relative to other recent D candidates, not just black folks.

You still haven't come close to proving that millions of black voters voted for BHO only because he's black.

You must look at the baseline from other D candidates. And, you must consider BHO's campaign efforts. And, you must consider that a lot of demographics moved toward the D candidate this year. It's odd to harp on black folks w/o acknowledging that most of them always vote for the D, even w/o an especially strong D campaign and an especially bad R alternative, such as we saw this year.

Odd fixation.

J said...

I have to say I thought there would be Bradley Effect in this one. I'm less inclined to believe voters have become more "honest" than that pollsters have developed controls to correct for it. The results of the NH dem primary should give at least somoe pause to those who think it's gone forever .

Also, it's dangerous to assume BE is attributable to racism. Based on the stats from this election, a black voter not supporting a black candidate would appear to have at least as much, if not more incentive to mislead a pollster than other demographics, particularly in a phone survey taken in the presence of supporters of that candidate.

Chip Ahoy said...

Oh, blast! I'm for anything that discredits polls, the bane of contemporary politics.

Ken Pidcock said...

Look, The Bradley effect is contextual. It's seen when the black candidate is of your party, and when there is little substantive difference between the candidates other than party. Under those circumstances, unable to find a reason not to vote for their party's candidate, voters might lie to avoid some perceived PC opprobrium.

None of this applied in the 2008 presidential election. We have a long tradition of Democrats voting for Republican presidential candidates, and the substantive differences between the candidates were vast. Democratic voters (Do I have to say Democrat voters on Althouse?)influenced by race could find plenty of other reasons to express support for the Republican.

dick said...


You are asking the wong question. How many more blacks voted this election than in previous elections just because a black man was running. That is where the difference came in. If historically blacks voted 40% of the time and this election with Obama running you suddenly had 90% turnout of blacks, then the % would not have to change at all to reflect the racism of the black voting pattern. The other question is how do you get someone to admit this and many blacks did in fact admit this on election day.

John Stodder said...

The Bradley effect -- and Tom Bradley was my beloved boss for six years -- has been a myth since it was first propounded 26 years ago and I want to stamp it out. The phenomenon never existed, at least not in the way everyone thinks.

First, even if you believed such a thing existed, what precisely did it describe? A polling problem. The idea was, more people would tell pollsters they were voting for the African-American candidate than actually intended to. It wasn't about racism. It was about people not wanting to appear racist when talking to polltakers. Does it follow that everyone who lied to a pollster about their true voting intentions was a racist? No. In 1982, they might've decided after eight years of Jerry Brown, a Republican governor might be better. But they might have though the pollster would not approve of this choice and because some people are too eager to please, they gave the pollsters the answer they thought they wanted to hear. That's not a racist act, necessarily. You could more easily argue the opposite, that someone who is worried about appearing to be a racist feels that way because they aren't racist.

Okay, so the mythical Bradley effect has been misunderstood. But beyond that, there is no consensus over whether Bradley underperformed in the polls in '82 anyway. Pollsters for both Bradley and Deukmejian have said they saw the contest getting much closer during the final days. True, some of the public polls were wrong, but there are at least three other explanations for that:

-- Polling was nowhere near as frequent. The major polls' final polls were taken a week before the election. Class, what do we say? "A week is a lifetime in politics."

-- The GOP was the innovative party that year, and their big innovation was the use of absentee ballots to help get out the vote. Until '82, nobody thought of absentee ballots as a way to increase turnout. That was not their original purpose, but it was legal and proved to be effective. The pollsters' turnout models didn't sufficiently account for this flood of new absentee voters.

-- There was a very liberal and restrictive gun-control measure on the '82 ballot, one that Bradley and most urban Democrats endorsed. This measure brought a lot of rural voters out to vote who normally did not vote. A black Democratic mayor of Los Angeles was not likely to be the choice of such voters. I bet some of them were racists! But it wasn't Bradley's race thought brought them out to the polls -- it was concern over having their guns confiscated.

I'm not saying racism wasn't a factor in '82 or '08, by the way. But there are other ways to measure that. For example, in the exit polls, CNN and others asked voters to say whether race was a "deciding factor" in their votes. Quite a few, I forget the percentage, said "yes." The kicker? By about 55-45 IIRC, more of these voters picked Obama than McCain.

Freder Frederson said...

It serves the Marxist narrative to blame it all on "hidden whitey racism".

As opposed to Cedarford's "open whitey racism."

Der Hahn said...

froggyprager said...
The right can not deny that there are some people, older white democrats and others who did not vote for Obama because he is black...

What makes you think Republicans are denying that there are racist Democrats who didn't vote for Obama because he is black?

KLDAVIS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KLDAVIS said...


What if there was no Bradley Effect because voters have internalized the previously external factors that caused the effect?

We've been told for a long enough time that failure to vote for the minority candidate may be due to racist tendencies, that the portion of the population that may have previously lied to the pollster just lies to their self. They rationalizes voting for the minority candidate as the right thing to do, and do so, because of the fear that they might be racist.

I think the left would call this progress, but the right would call it indoctrination.

Sprezzatura said...


But, I've seen statistics (w/o looking deeply into it) that indicate BHO had normal black turnout in a lot of states.

I read that his strongest turnout was in the states where he was really pushing for the votes. When we look at nationwide averages we loose the insights that can be found by comparing individual states with the baseline results from other recent D candidates in those states.

The existence of this discrepancy between different states tends to prove that black folks didn't vote for BHO because he's black. They, like all the other folks BHO worked to turnout, voted for him because he targeted them, like all the other folks BHO worked to turnout in competitive states (with the caveat about complications resulting from the BHO campaign possibly being aggressive in some very blue states as I mentioned in a comment above--or maybe they were strategically in my blue hood in my blue state to show us what we were funding around the country--my "elitist" hood provided big dough to the BHO campaign.)

Consider that apparently BHO had good results in total numbers and percentage of voters from the Hispanic community compared to other recent D candidates. So, does this mean that Hispanics voted for BHO "only because he's black?" Of course not.

And, Hispanics aren't the only demographic where BHO made big advances compared to other recent D candidates.

I think it's odd for folks to fixate on the idea that millions of blacks voted for BHO only because he's black. It's almost like it's fueled by some sort of resentment, even though I don't think this is the situation. I think folks are just jumping at color as the most obvious factor. But, there are many other factors. And, there are many other demographics and highly recruited populations who also came through for BHO, and they're not black, so it's not absurd to assume BHO's black vote involved more than simply "millions of black folks voting for him only because he's black."

And, this topic is stupid. I have wasted way too much time here because I don't even care one way or the other.

I think it's odd to jump to conclusions that are based on a some sort of intuitive-resonance rather than a rigorous assessment.

But, different strokes for different folks.

Roberto said...

How about the "World Effect?"

I realize many here think America is the only real country on the planet, but we have friends throughout the world that we're dependent upon economically and militarily (fighting terrorism), and our reputation has suffered dramatically.

In 2000, 78% of Germans had a favorable view of the United States, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project. By 2008, that had dropped to 31%.

During the same period, favorable opinion of the U.S. went from 83% to 53% in Britain, from 62% to 42% in France, from 77% to 50% in Japan, from 68% to 47% in Mexico and from 52% to 12% in Turkey.

And here in America: More than 70% of us disapprove of Bush's job performance, according to a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, and 85% think our country has "pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track."

But when it comes to the rest of the world, Obama also has a monumental advantage that John McCain never would have had: The world likes him -- and is prepared, once again, to like our nation.

In June, the Pew Project found that large majorities in each of the 24 countries it surveyed had more confidence in Obama than McCain "to do the right thing regarding world affairs."

In late October, Gallup released a 73-nation survey finding that world citizens preferred Obama to McCain by a margin of more than 3 to 1.

So why not try to support our new President while he tries to right the ship of state?

Is that too much to ask?

Pastafarian said...

Michael -- you must be very proud of this comment; you've copied-and-pasted it into two separate posts, so far.

By the way, what percentage of Germans and Japanese had a favorable attitude toward the US under Democratic Presidents Roosevelt and Truman?

That should really be what governs our international decisions, huh? What the people who gave us the Holocaust think of us. That shit isn't exactly ancient history, you know -- 70 years ago, they were herding children into gas chambers. I really don't give a flying shit what the Germans think of us. Do you?

Mortimer Brezny said...

Oh, come on. You don't get non-racist white person credit for voting for Obama. You have to fuck a black person, too. (Other than Denzel Washington or Halle Berry.)