Hoping for a Bradley Effect?

Like so many others at this point, I’m suffering from election fatigue. Despite promising poll numbers, many argue that McCain shouldn’t be counted out .

After wondering why the heck McCain was continuing to campaign in places like Iowa and Pennsylvania, states in which Obama leads on average by double-digits (see this), there seems to be only one explanation: that the McCain campaign is hoping for the Bradley Effect, along with the Wilder Effect.

The former refers to whites lying to pollsters about supporting the black candidate while actually voting for someone else (i.e., the white candidate), while the latter refers to the remaining undecideds to break overwhelmingly for the white candidate. (Thus, it is more accurately called the “white racism effect.”)

In both RCP averages in those states, Obama’s raw score is above 52 percent, meaning that the Wilder Effect alone would be insufficient for McCain to win in those states. So why spend time campaigning there with such little time left before Election Day? Part of the explanation could be that they have nothing left at this point, but why ignore Colorado at this juncture? Turns out that they may be banking on the older white populations of Iowa and Pennsylvania (along with others like Florida and Ohio), while giving up on Colorado (the youngest state in the union). Apparently the recent charges ranging from “palling around with terrorists” to “socialist” to “Marxist” are attempts to gain favor with these voters. What do you think: could the McCain camp be onto something (say, based on their own polling), or is this just another poor decision of an utterly miserable campaign?


  1. One reason McCain campaigns there is because it would be foolish to campaign only in pure-red states (i.e. Utah and Alabama). Second, as accurate as polls are, few are 100% accurate. There are enough states within the margin of error that it makes sense to continue campaigning in “battleground” states. Now, I agree with you when it comes to defining Pennsylvania as a battleground state. It clearly looks out of McCain’s grasp, yet another example of a horribly mismanaged campaign.


  1. Racism Review: Hoping for a Bradley Effect? « Stop Dog Whistle Racism!

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