The Bradley Defect
Posted on Nov 5, 2008
The latent racism that many had predicted would cut into Barack Obama’s poll numbers on Election Day—the so-called “Bradley effect”—ended up largely an unfounded concern, as exit polls showed him picking up 43% of white voters, an increase of 4 percentage points over what Democratic candidates have averaged since 1968.
The Globe And Mail:
After a campaign in which the colour of Barack Obama’s skin was a relentless undercurrent, the Democratic contender laid to rest the fear that a historic night would be tainted by racial prejudice.
Mr. Obama got 43 per cent of the white vote, according to exit polls. Since Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 election, Democratic nominees only averaged 39 per cent.
There had been much talk of the so-called Bradley effect, named after Tom Bradley, the black candidate in the 1982 California governor’s race whose polling lead vanished on election day.
Instead, Mr. Obama’s performance showed that anxieties about the economy and the direction of the country prevailed over reluctance about electing the first biracial president.