Monday, October 13, 2008

Do Polls Lie About Race?

Another article about the Bradley effect -- which appears to have disappeared:

Whatever its causes, the Bradley gap seems to be disappearing.

In a new study, Daniel J. Hopkins, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, considered 133 elections between 1989 and 2006 and found that blacks running for office before 1996 suffered a median Bradley effect of 3 percentage points. Blacks running after 1996, however, performed about 3 percentage points better than their polls predicted. Mr. Hopkins argues that the changes in the welfare laws in 1996 and the decline of violent crime took off the table issues that had aggravated racial animosity.

The Bradley effect in the 2006 vote was largely absent (and in some stances a reverse effect was seen by some pollsters).

Funny Numbers

Do Polls Lie About Race?

Published: October 11, 2008

THREE weeks to Election Day and polls project a victory, possibly a big one, for Barack Obama.

Yet everywhere, anxious Democrats wring their hands. They’ve seen this Lucy-and-the-football routine before, and they’re just waiting for their ball to be snatched away, the foiled Charlie Browns again. Remember how the exit polls in 2004 predicted President Kerry?

The anxiety is more acute this year, because Senator Obama is the first African-American major-party presidential nominee. And even pollsters say they can’t be sure how accurately polls capture people’s feelings about race, or how forthcoming Americans are in talking about a black candidate.

In recent days, nervous Obama supporters have traded worry about a survey — widely disputed by pollsters yet voraciously consumed by the politically obsessed — that concluded racial bias would cost Mr. Obama six percentage points in the final outcome. He is, of course, about six points ahead in current polls. See? He’s going to lose.


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