Campaigns/Elections

Reason Writers Around Town: Matt Welch on the Bradley Effect

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In the fourth installment of his L.A. Times campaign dust-up with USC professor Kareem Crayton, Editor in Chief Matt Welch uses unscientific anecdotes to suggest that the United States maybe really isn't as racist as all that.

Read all about it here.

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  1. actually i think obamas race is the only reason he isn’t set for a landslide victory *sigh* the more things chang e the more they stay the same.

  2. Damn, CO’s been trolling up a storm. A quick word of advice, CO: I have nothing against getting high, but please don’t post when you’re high. You just make yourself sound stupid(er).

  3. actually i think obamas race is the only reason he won the democratic primary *sigh* my logic is as good as the concern troll who posted first.

    OK, That was a weak effort, but I did get to use “concern troll”.

  4. ‘landslide’ victories in US prez elections are normally around 56 or so %. Only 2 or 3 times did anyone get more than 60% of the vote.

  5. @John-David-What you just said makes no sense at all.

  6. Put a period before “sigh,” and capitalize the M in my. Then it makes grammatical sense.

    Still doesn’t make sense, though. In the first half of 2008, the only reason the most charismatic, eloquent candidate anyone can remember who, oh yeah, was only the only major candidate to oppose invading Iraq, won the nomination is because he’s black? While his only significant opponent was a woman?

    C’mon.

  7. I think I’m just going to write in “Tom Bradley” when I vote.

    There’s your fucking “Bradley Effect”.

  8. I’m especially sick of Chris Matthews pretending it’s still a two point race in PA.

    He’s up nearly fourteen points *on average*, you tool.

  9. concerned observer,

    If Obama wins by a larger margin in the general election than he did in the primaries, are you going to sigh and conclude that Democrats are, on average, more racist than the general electorate?

  10. “If Obama wins by a larger margin in the general election than he did in the primaries, are you going to sigh and conclude that Democrats are, on average, more racist than the general electorate?”

    No, he’ll say ACORN did it.

  11. @Gimme Back My Dog
    That’s because there was an actual choice in the Democratic primaries between two fairly good candidates, while in the general election he’s running against an old fart

  12. Did someone say something about Democrats and racism?

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/confronting-rac.html

    Why isn’t Richard Pombo Obama’s running mate?

  13. co,

    Ahh, so the Democratic Primary election results were based on the strength of the candidates, but the General Election is a reflection of the racism of the voters?

  14. I don’t know if you’d call it an aspect of the “Bradley effect” or not, but:

    What if some people are afraid of the pollster considering them racist, so they say they plan to vote for Obama when they really plan to vote for McCain? (let’s pretend they have some policy reason for doing so)

    Note: This is not racism, per se (at least on the part of the poll responder)–it instead is fear of being unfairly labeled racist.

    I’ve seen several opinion pieces that suggest that the only reason to _not_ vote for Obama is because of racism–should we be surprised if some McCain voters hide their preference as a result?

    Personally, I’m not going to be voting for either of them, but then, my vote won’t really count anyway–Obama will win my state no matter what.

  15. Who the fuck would have a problem pressing a touch-tone button to signal to a machine that they’re voting for McCain because they might be called racist?

    Are we that neurotic as a nation?

  16. Joe-

    “the most charismatic, eloquent candidate anyone can remember”? Are we listening to the same guy? The guy who hems and haws? The guy the speech of whom is fraught with fillers like aaah and eeehhh?

    He is not eloquent. He is horrible without a teleprompter.

    Another thing. Last week I ran into an old friend who happens to be a stalwart, lifetime democrat. Sure, he has worked in the private sector all his life, but a democrat just the same. After exchanging some pleasantries, I asked what he thought of the race, in general, and Ms. Hockey Mom, in particular. He told me that he thought Palin’s convention speech was the best political speech he ever heard. BTW, he is 74.

  17. “BTW, he is 74.”

    That’s about the demographic of the Republican Party today.

    Senile seniors and cranks.

  18. Racists are a dying breed as cities supplant rural territory. Luckily, I’ll live to see the day when their total extinction occurs. Stereotypes will live forever, though.

  19. @BDB 7:58-I’m with you on that one.

  20. Joe-

    Do you really that Obama is going to do very much to slash defense spending? Do you think that he is going to stand up to the Zionists? He has already caved to the Israelis-they know that they can count on him continuing business as usual.

  21. BoB-

    The guy is a democrat. You did note that, yes?

  22. I’m just sayin’, LM.

    If he outperforms his polls, it will be OMG ACRON WTF?

  23. thats right libertymike, spin your conspiracy theories about the jews how theyre all going to eat your brains

  24. BoB-

    Palin’s convention speech was better than Obama’s. Much the smoother delivery and rendered with almost no errors. When you throw in the ability to give the speech once the teleprompter breaks down without missing a beat, there is no debate as to who is more eloquent and melifluous.

    You read my posts. You know that I utterly loathe the republican party, in general, and every republican, in particular, save one soft spoken doctor from Texas.

  25. Concerned observer-

    Please support your assertion that I am spinning conspiracy theories about the jews with specific facts. Good luck. Right now your logic is that of a loser.

  26. Concerned Observer-

    Is one anti-semetic if one supports an end to taxpayer funded handouts to Israel?

  27. “. When you throw in the ability to give the speech once the teleprompter breaks down without missing a beat”

    This is an urban legend. Google it.

  28. Scientific studies seem to actually agree with Welch’s anecdotes. Here’s a good example:

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/129385.html#comments

    In the primaries, on average, Obama outperformed the polls by 3.3%; that is, there may be actually a reverse Bradley Effect. Maybe this is because blacks tend to tell pollsters to screw themselves, or pollsters are underestimating their turnout, or white rural voters are afraid to tell pollsters they are, in fact, voting for the black guy. Who knows? But the regular Bradley Effect doesn’t exist any more.

    Keep in mind, the lack of a Bradley Effect doesn’t mean there aren’t any racists out there who won’t vote for a black guy; it just means they aren’t many who will lie about and say they are, or at least there aren’t as many as those who will lie and say they aren’t voting for the black guy when they really are.

  29. libertymike,

    You are entitled to your opinion. It is an eccentric one. You realize that, right? That Barack Obama is generally considered to be a good speaker?

  30. When you throw in the ability to give the speech once the teleprompter breaks down without missing a beat

    You know this is a lie, right?

    A widely-debunked lie, refuted by the reporters behind the stage, right?

  31. Sen. Obama has claimed that more young black men are in prison than in college. This is actually the opposite of the truth – there are more young black men in college than in prison. Sen. Obama gets a pass because (a) he was speaking more in sorrow than in anger, even if he *was* full of shit, (b) he’s half-black, and (c) he’s a Democrat.

    I would be very interested to see how the media might deal with this situation if, for any reason, they wanted to turn on the Senator.

    [Dramatic music]

    HOST: Welcome to Your World Right Now. I’m your host, Gwynfred Hollister. Controversy continues to swirl around statements by Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, who said . . .

    [Cut to clip of Senator Obama speaking in Harlem in November, 2007]

    OBAMA: “I don’t want to wake up four years from now and discover that we still have more young black men in prison than in college.”

    HOST: We asked Professor so-and-so of Harvard University about this purported statistic.

    PROFESSOR SO-AND-SO: Actually, Grynfred, Senator Obama is wrong. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 276,600 African-American males between the ages of 18 and 34 were in prison at the end of 2005. That compares to 710,000 African-Americans in college. I don’t know where Senator Obama gets his statistics.

    HOST: Only his proctologist knows for sure. Now we turn to John Smith, an African-American engineering student at MIT. Mr. Smith, how do you react to Senator Obama’s assertions?

    SMITH: [In his dorm room, surrounded by books, dressed in a suit and tie] It was like a punch in the gut. Where does this guy get off, making like there are more young black men in prison than college? Is this the image he wants to give the country about the African-American population? Fortunately, I’m too busy studying to spend a lot of time worrying about these divisive statements.

    HOST: And here’s Robert Galbraith, an African-American single Dad in Peoria. Thank you for coming on the show, Bob. Now, we’re soon going to be asking Senator Obama about his statements. Is there anything you would want to say to him?

    GALBRAITH: Only this, Gwynfred. I’ve always told my son to respect himself and study hard. Yesterday, he came home from school crying, saying that the white kids had been teasing him about how he was more likely to end up in prison than in college. So my question to Senator Obama is, just because your black father abandoned you and you were raised by your racist white family (you’ve admitted that your white grandma was racist), why are you taking out this racial hostility on my son? What did my son ever do to you? Is it so important for you to get votes by appealing to America’s worst racial instincts that you would sink this low?

    HOST: Now we have a chance to ask Senator Obama these questions. He’s in our studio right now. Senator Obama, what would you say to Mr. Galbraith’s son? Why did you say these things? Didn’t you know your statistics were wrong?

    OBAMA: You see, Gwynfred, I was talking about the total number of Africa-Americans in prison compared the number in college. Maybe I didn’t express myself very clearly . . .

    HOST: You certainly didn’t. You specifically said “young black men,” and now you’re trying to weasel out of this by saying you were *really* counting the entire African-American prison population? Do you expect our viewers to buy that? Weren’t you just trying to appeal to racist sentiments among the white voters?

    OBAMA: No way! I just love the col – I mean, my fellow black people. They have such a sense of rhythm, you know? Why are you assuming I’m just pandering to racists?

    HOST: Senator Barack Obama: Racist or panderer? It’s your call. We report, you decide.

  32. “Racists are a dying breed as cities supplant rural territory. Luckily, I’ll live to see the day when their total extinction occurs. Stereotypes will live forever, though.”

    You don’t live in the south, now do you?

  33. I live in the south, and, racists are a dying breed as cities supplant rural territory children attend integrated schools.

  34. joe,

    I was parodying the concerned observer’s first post. Honestly I though my logic (fake as it was) was as good as his.

  35. My response then was the same I make now when anxious Washington conservatives ask whether I think there’ll be some kind of racial conflict should Obama somehow lose: I have more faith in America than all of that.

    I too have more faith in America, but win or lose I will be armed.

  36. Joe and BoB-

    I took BoB up on his suggestion and just googled “Did the teleprompter break”? In my quick read, I can find no fact that establishes that the teleprompter did not break. I read “according to sources close to John McCain” and other “evidence” that, as a matter of logic, is not enough to carry the burden of establishing as a FACT, that the teleprompter did not break.

  37. Good for you.

    You seem to move around your standards pretty freely.

  38. Right SIV, make sure President Obama doesn’t try to move you into that Liberal Fascist gas chamber.

  39. P.S.

    Remember, no matter what happens, ACORN STOLE IT OMG!!!

  40. Joe and BoB-

    Maybe its more accurate to write that there are conflicting accounts concenring the teleprompter malfunction.

    Nevertheless, she can think on her feet better than Obama and she can deliver a speech better than him.

  41. I *want* politicians to have a teleprompter. The last President to write his own speeches was Herbert Hoover. How did that work out for him?

  42. Joe-

    Moving around standards pretty freely is the living constitution crowd. You know that I do not run with that pack.

  43. libertymike: it’s BDB. B. D. B.

    Back to your regularly-scheduled H+R battle.

  44. Thanks, TAO. I wanted to say something without looking like a nitpicking jackass. Another person doing it fixes that!

  45. Racism is ending because mostly it’s only the rural south now, and everyone is finally moving out of there. I’ve lived in 5 major cities – Los Angeles, Kansas City, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia. There was never any racism there.

  46. “I’ve lived in 5 major cities – Los Angeles, Kansas City, Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia. There was never any racism there.”

    This is H&R’s patented sarcasm, right?

  47. No, I’m serious. All racists are from the rural south. City dwellers are too cosmopolitan and informed to be racist. It’s only those people in the small places.

  48. Look.

    I live in the capital of the Confederacy. Is there racism? Sure.

    Is it directed at Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods? Not so much. Is it directed at our Mayor, former Governor Doug Wilder? No. Will it be directed at Barack Obama? I doubt it.

    Someone can say “all black people are lazy!” and then vote for Barack Obama because he’s a “good one”.

  49. I wanted to say something without looking like a nitpicking jackass.

    You can count on me!

    erm…wait…

  50. BDB,

    You are “projecting”. Who screams “we wuz robbed” whenever it doesn’t go there way? Nixon voters in 1960, the Cal GOP after B-1 Bob Dornan was ousted?

    Which Presidents have most egregiously violated the rights of American Citizens for political purposes. Certainly not Liberal Progressives like Woodrow Wilson and FDR!

  51. SIV–

    I know I can count on YOU not to say ACORN stole it. Because for one, while we disagree on some stuff, you’re not a moronic dumbass.

  52. And, btw, wartime Presidents ALWAYS violate the most Civil Rights regardless of party. War brings people together…in a really bad way sometimes.

  53. TAO–

    I know how bad that sounded after I read it, but I meant it as a “thank you”.

  54. without looking like a nitpicking jackass. Another person doing it fixes that!

    You I have no imagination.

  55. Mark,

    You almost had me fooled for a second.

    I don’t know if Long Island, NY qualifies as rural/ignorant or urban/sophisticated, but I literally encountered naked xenophobia from a guy in a Long Island gym, with a strong NY accent, complaining about Chinese and foreigners. It seems some Chinese swimmers weren’t giving him enough space in the pool. This proved how foreigners were so greedy, taking stuff from Americans, etc.

    In an event in the South, I heard a white audience member complaining about black people. The guy had an NY accent and was complaining about events in NY.

  56. literally encountered naked xenophobia

  57. Look,
    I have lived in 7 different states in the deep south, the northwest including Alaska. There has been racism in every one. The most sinister, imo, is in the south. While not as pure as joe, I am not KKK material either. I do recognize some unjust attitudes in myself that I think have grown out of personal experience and anecdotal evidence.
    Point is, IMHO, racism is very much alive and well all over the country, jusy not practiced as overtly as it was 50 years ago. I am tempted to suggeat that it is more harmful to the non-whites now than back in the days of MLK jr.

  58. “You don’t live in the south, now do you?”

    You have never actually traveled outside your home town have you?

  59. BDB – If Obama wins, there will probably be some people in some comment threads somewhere claiming that OMG ACORN STOLE IT. When that happens, you can link them and mock them until you have cum. Until then, though, you don’t need to battle the Strawmen from the Future every day no matter the topic of the thread.

  60. I am tempted to suggeat that it is more harmful to the non-whites now than back in the days of MLK jr.

    Resisting temptation is the mark of character. Racism was more harmful to non-whites when it was the foundation of an apartheid system of governance that negated their rights and human dignity.

  61. I don’t know if Long Island, NY qualifies as rural/ignorant

    ignorant, yes. a more accurate description would be “guidoed the fuck up.”

  62. I wouldn’t put too much stock in what happened in the Democratic Primaries. Due to the Democratic Party’s support of racial preferences, among other things, that pool is disproportionately filled with blacks and guilty, self hating whites. There never was any “Bradley Effect” with these folks, so Obama overperforming the polls in the primary might not necessarily lead to overperforming in the general.

  63. dhex,

    I had to look that up in Wikipedia. That’s one offensive stereotype! I’m not talking about *all* people in LI – just the idea that it’s totally racism-free.

  64. guido is a fitting post-racial category of boorishness that transcends class and ethnic boundaries. wherever there are bass cars and affliction tees; wherever freestyle and cocaine flows freely; wherever a shirtless idiot who has watched too many ufc pay per view events yells for “his boys” to hold him back because several bouncers don’t know the answer to “don’t you know who i am?”; there you will find the spirit of the guido.

    long island merely has the most comical version.

  65. I’ll try to steer clear of those particular clubs.

  66. Everyone with a brain knows the existence of racism in the United States– especially against blacks– is completely over-exaggerated. If anything, affirmative action and tokenism that are the big problem in racism because both AA and tokenism prescribe race as anything other than “completely fucking arbitrary.”

  67. You don’t live in the south, now do you?

    I’ve been to the South. I have friends in the South. Personally I haven’t seen a lick of racism, and racism never came up in any of my conversations about Southerners. I am not denying its existence, but it probably only exists among a few 80 year old people who are all going to thankfully die off in fifteen years.

    What I find shocking is that, while you presumably consider yourself an unprejudiced man, you don’t feel any cognitive dissonance in perpetuating anti-Southern prejudice.

  68. A far more likely event is that many white voters wanted to vote for the black guy and said so in polls but upon examination at the actual act of voting discovered that is a stupid reason to vote for someone, and simply changed their vote.

  69. No racism in Atlanta, are you kidding me? All you need to do is look up archives of sports forums discussing Mike Vick and you’ll see plenty of racism on both sides. I don’t see the Bradley effect happenning in Pennsylvania or Ohio, the democrat racists there don’t face any PC pressure from cosmopolitans.

  70. I’ve been to the South. I have friends in the South. Personally I haven’t seen a lick of racism, and racism never came up in any of my conversations about Southerners. I am not denying its existence, but it probably only exists among a few 80 year old people who are all going to thankfully die off in fifteen years.

    I’ve grown up and lived most of my life in the South. There’s definitely remnants of old style racism, even in the young, but in my experience it’s always among the completely marginalized. I’ve never heard a businessman say “I don’t like blacks and won’t hire them,” or a teacher say “I don’t like blacks and don’t care about educating them,” or a judge say “I don’t like blacks and will not give them a fair trial,” etc… (In fact in those cases it’s always just the opposite.) The last time I read some real racist shit I was drinking with a friend of mine in a graveyard in Cody, FL (population maybe 30) and these two redneck 18 year old construction workers came up cuz they had been there trying to take pictures of the graves and develop them and call the smudges on the pics ghosts. And they came up and offered us black and milds and told us how they’d’ve killed us if we’d-a been black or fags. So there’s racism, but when it lives out in some trailers by the wastewater evaporation pond, I think its seriousness is exaggerated.

  71. der… “read real racist shit” means “heard some real racist shit”

  72. The Bradley effect may still be discerible in some states. In most, it’ll get lost in the noise.

    I bitch and moan occasionaly about the direction America is headed, but I’m heartened by the progress we’ve made in changing racist attitudes over my adult lifetime.

    We can respect Colin Powell and ridicule Al Sharpton without being called either nigger lover or racist. It’s one of the few things this baby boomer claims as a positive for my g-g-g-eneration.

  73. actually i think obamas race is the only reason he isn’t set for a landslide victory

    I disagree. His race is a big reason he was nominated, and is a major contributor to the immunity he has from serious inquiry or questioning.

    All told, I count it as a mild plus for him.

    In the first half of 2008, the only reason the most charismatic, eloquent inexperienced, liberal candidate anyone can remember who, oh yeah, was only the only major candidate to oppose invading Iraq, won the nomination is because he’s black?

    Yeah, I would say it sure helped. Funny, though, that he chose a VP who voted to invade Iraq. Principled man, that Obama.

  74. Gargh. Stupid HTML. Why don’t they at least have a preview button on this forum?

    In the first half of 2008, the only reason the most charismatic, eloquent inexperienced, liberal candidate anyone can remember who, oh yeah, was only the only major candidate to oppose invading Iraq, won the nomination is because he’s black?

    Yeah, I would say it sure helped. Funny, though, that he chose a VP who voted to invade Iraq. Principled man, that Obama.

  75. Nevertheless, she can think on her feet better than Obama and she can deliver a speech better than him.

    Three words; Katie, fucking, Couric. Now, please provide one shred of evidence that she’s even capable of thinking on her feet about major policy issues. And no, reading comments off a piece of paper in a “debate” whether they make sense in context or not doesn’t count. Obama may uhhh, and ahhh, but at least once he’s finished talking he’s made a goddamn relevent point.

  76. Gargh. Stupid HTML. Why don’t they at least have a preview button on this forum?

    They do. It’s right next to the “submit comment” button. Works like a charm.

  77. They do. It’s right next to the “submit comment” button. Works like a charm.

    You’re new to the whole self-deprecating humor and sarcasm thing, aren’t you?

  78. You’re new to the whole self-deprecating humor and sarcasm thing, aren’t you?

    Sorry, I’m kinda naive. I was always taught that the hallmark of a good joke was that it was funny. But hey, given this new piece of information, most of your posts make a lot more sense now. It’s now clear that you’re some kind of underappreciated libertarian comedic genius, like Andy Kaufman. Y’know, instead of just being a run-of-the-mill Republican.

  79. I think it’s sad that, for whatever reasons, you can’t look at Barack Obama and imagine any reason for his appeal to voters other than his race, RC.

    Carolyn Moseley-Braun had almost the same resume as Barack Obama, on paper – but keep telling yourself that the Democratic primary was all about race.

  80. I think it’s sad that, for whatever reasons, you can’t look at Barack Obama and imagine any reason for his appeal to voters other than his race, RC.

    Christ on a crutch, joe, where have I said I couldn’t imagine any reason for his appeal to voters other than his race?

    I said it was, all told, a “mild plus” for him (you can look it up!). How you think someone who says “X is a mild plus” thinks “X is his only appeal”, I dunno.

    But it doesn’t really enhance your credibility on these boards that you have such a penchant for misrepresenting people you disagree with.

  81. Carolyn Moseley-Braun had almost the same resume as Barack Obama, on paper

    So does John Edwards. Yet one successfully ran for the nomination, and the other didn’t. There’s a lot of reasons for that, including race.

    You aren’t saying race is no longer a factor, are you, joe? Or that, in the Dem party, being black can only hurt you?

  82. Christ on a crutch, joe, where have I said I couldn’t imagine any reason for his appeal to voters other than his race?

    Well, there’s here: His race is a big reason he was nominated, and is a major contributor to the immunity he has from serious inquiry or questioning. and then there’s the part where you crossed out the reasons besides race I gave for his nomination, leaving only an insult and a political category that applied even more to many of his opponents.

    You aren’t saying race is no longer a factor, are you, joe? Or that, in the Dem party, being black can only hurt you? I’m saying that the “identity politics in the Democratic Party” fails spectacularly to explain why Barack Obama bead Hillary Clinton.

  83. The most racist people I know are my old freinds back in the town I grew up in in Massachusetts. The least racist place I’ve ever lived was Goldsboro NC — large black population and everyone got along.

  84. Having lived in the south most of my life (though not really southern, as both my parents are from Michigan) I would say that there is plenty of racism here, but it’s usually concentrated among poor white trash who blame the blacks and “Mexicans” for taking thur jebs. They can usually be safely ignored.

  85. Shirt,

    I call them “green-necks.” You can probably figure out why.

    Sons of Dapper O’Neil. “Christ, it looks like Saigon in here. I’ll be back with the checks.”

  86. I put “Mexican” in quotes because it’s sort of a redneck catchall for Hispanics. Actually, since I’m sort of dark and I can speak Spanish, there has occasionally arisen the misimpression that I’m a “Mexican”.

  87. Then again, I’ve also been called “white”, which in the particular context in which it was uttered was apparently an insult. So I guess it goes both ways.

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