Thursday, October 09, 2008

Is there a reverse Bradley effect?

There has been a lot of talk by the media about "The Bradley Effect" which as I understand it is named after Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles. This is a theory that there is evidence that some are not comfortable telling pollsters they are voting against an African-American so they don't appear racist.

Now based on my own experiences talking to voters, friends and family in central and southeast Ohio, I don't doubt there may be some of that going on, but I am also noticing something else, what I call a reverse Bradley effect. This is that there are a number of people that feel Barack Obama is the best candidate and intend to vote for him, but don't want anyone to know it. Like there is some irrational fear of their friends and neighbors reactions. One example I heard from someone that once told me that Barack is the best of the two, didn't want a yard sign because he said, "I'm not a Democrat."

There has been for a long time this cultural belief that being successful goes with being a republican. In business meetings and in the suburbs it is seemingly the thing to do to be part of the in crowd. Democrats often when discussions of politics come up are very quiet about their own beliefs in these circles to avoid confrontation. This is even more evident this time in the suburban white community since this time there is an African American candidate running.

So my belief based completely on anecdotal evidence is that there are a significant number of Obama supporters that are being secretive about it. Does this offset the traditional Bradley effect? I guess we will find out on November 4th.

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