An Evil thought

Why is everyone so convinced that it was Hillary’s tears which swung the vote in New Hampshire? It seems to me at least possible that there is a certain reluctance to vote for black peopple. This is understood to be shameful, which is why everyone tells pollsters they will vote Obama. But in a secret ballot, their fingers vote for Hillary. I hope I’m wrong. But it is certainly true that the pollsters in this country have to compensate deliberately for the fact that people are ashamed to say they are voting Conservative1 and we will know by the end of the year whether I am right about the USA. After all, she can’t cry in every primary, so if Obama consistently does worse than the polls would suggest, it’s up to the optimists to come up with a better theory.

1 And so they should be.

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7 Responses to An Evil thought

  1. Matthew says:

    This is known as the Bradley Effect, and has been suggested by many commentators as a possible cause of Hillary’s win. But it can’t be right. Obama’s poll figures are almost identical to his actual results, as are Edwards’. If the Bradley effect held, you would expect Obama’s polling figures and the results to be wildly different. The big differential is actually in Clinton’s figures: polls greatly underestimated her performance. Independents and undecided voters voted en masse for Hillary.

  2. acb says:

    Ah. Thanks. Who was the original Bradley?

  3. Robert Nowell says:

    If in this country people are ashamed to tell pollsters that they vote Conservative, are they also ashamed to tell pollsters that they vote for New Labour?

  4. Chris Schoen says:

    The original Bradley was Tom Bradley, mayor of LA in the 70s and 80s. He ran a close second for Governor of California in 1982, losing to a white opponent. Exit polls suggested he would win handily.

    I find the Bradley effect unconvincing in a primary context. One could arguably find a racist motive for skewing conservative in a general election just to avoid electing a black candidate. But in a primary it’s much more about personality than politics. Clinton’s and Obama’s policy differences–to the extent they can be known at all–are quite miniscule. No self-described liberal or “independent” would have any reason not to be transparent about their vote choice.

  5. quinn says:

    honestly, i think it would be easier for america to vote for a black man than a woman. racism might be more pervasive, but i’ve rarely seen such an ugly hate as people get towards an uppity woman. i guess it’s more personal somehow.

  6. As Matthew points out above, you’re talking about the ‘Bradley Effect’, but, since, as he points out, Obama’s poll and vote numbers aligned, this can’t have been in play. I say this as a biracial person, who has been impressed by the extent of Obama’s support among white voters, and as a political scientist, likewise impressed.

    Part of the problem for Obama was that the undecided voters split heavily in favour of Clinton. Why? My best guess is that one of the core constituencies that both Obama and Clinton rely on is white women, and they seem to have broken for Clinton.

  7. wg says:

    I keep saying that HIllary is more obviously female than Obama is black. 🙂

    There is a weird effect when you sit down to vote your primary ballot (which I did last week for NY state): you calculate not only your personal preferences but whether you think a candidate would be electable by the mainstream. On that score, I have a lot of doubts about both Hillary and Obama, on the grounds that either would be such a radical first (for the US).

    But Hillary has another last-minute thing that Obama, I think, does not, or not in such numbers. I read somewhere that women over – I think it was – 45 are much more influenced by the idea of the first woman president than younger women, who apparently don’t see it as such a big deal. I found when I sat down to vote that the thought that this might be the only realistic chance for the first woman president in my lifetime – where are we going to get another woman with so much experience, name recognition, intelligence. Of course, I hate to think that the first two of those have largely been achieved in collaboration with her husband, but in fact I suspect every top star becomes that way because of team support. I found the idea that FWP could become an imminent reality unexpectedly moving. As you put pen to paper, you think, “My god. Can I really let this opportunity go by?”

    That effect, too, might explain a lot.

    P.S. It also for sure pisses me off to think that a woman has to cry to get elected or be perceived as human.

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