Obama devotee Andrew Sullivan kicks the post-NH primary speculation off with what he believes may be a possible explanation for why his candidate lost last night: The return of the “Bradley Effect.” What is the Bradley Effect? Andrew links up to this piece:
The term Bradley effect or Wilder effect refers to a phenomenon which has led to inaccurate voter opinion polls in some American political campaigns between a white candidate and a non-white candidate. Specifically, there have been instances in which statistically significant numbers of white voters tell pollsters in advance of an election that they are either genuinely undecided, or likely to vote for the non-white candidate, but those voters exhibit a different behavior when actually casting their ballots. White voters who said that they were undecided break in statistically large numbers toward the white candidate, and many of the white voters who said that they were likely to vote for the black candidate ultimately cast their ballot for the white candidate. This reluctance to give accurate polling answers has sometimes extended to post-election exit polls as well.
Researchers who have studied the issue theorize that some white voters give inaccurate responses to polling questions because of a fear that they might appear to others to be racially prejudiced. Some research has suggested that the race of the pollster conducting the interview may factor into that concern. At least one prominent researcher has suggested that with regard to pre-election polls, the discrepancy can be traced in part by the polls’ failure to account for general conservative political leanings among late-deciding voters.
Tonight is the first primary – not a caucus. People get to vote in a secret ballot – not in front of their largely liberal peers, as in Iowa. They may have told the pollsters one thing about voting for a black man, but in the privacy of the voting booth, something else happens. I don’t have any hard evidence for this, but the discrepancy in the polls is remarkable. David Kuo cites it. The vast discrepancy between the last polls and the result puts it on the table. I hope it’s not true. But it could be.
Predictable. But at least he didn’t blame it on Diebold (heh). Or something like that.
Already, the collective brain of the lefty blogosphere is mulling over in its mind the possibility that closet racists inhabit the Democratic party in New Hampshire. More on that here. Racists do indeed exist in the Democratic party, but it’s not closeted; in fact it’s wide open, and we hear it everytime a Democrat opens their mouth and insists that a black person can’t succeed in this country without “special help” from the government. But that’s another topic for another day.
Liberal Matthew Yglesias takes a more measured approach, and isn’t buying the “Bradley Effect” nonsense:
If you look at the breakdown of the results, you’d need to believe that white women, but not white men, are inclined to lie to pollsters about that. More likely we’re looking at a combination of gender backlash, plus the fact that Obama was so widely perceived as likely to win led independents to vote for John McCain in the GOP primary.
I think that’s closer to the mark. I don’t think the pollsters were necessarily wrong here. In essence, Hillary’s tears, and her “go girl!” response to the staged “Iron My Shirt” heckler the day before the NH primary helped propel her from a candidate who had all but written off NH in the final days to one who came out on top.
Bill Clinton was known for biting his lip, but here was Hillary doing the Muskie. Certainly it was impressive that she could choke up and stay on message.
She won her Senate seat after being embarrassed by a man. She pulled out New Hampshire and saved her presidential campaign after being embarrassed by another man. She was seen as so controlling when she ran for the Senate that she had to be seen as losing control, as she did during the Monica scandal, before she seemed soft enough to attract many New York voters.
Getting brushed back by Barack Obama in Iowa, her emotional moment here in a cafe and her chagrin at a debate question suggesting she was not likable served the same purpose, making her more appealing, especially to women, particularly to women over 45.
The Obama campaign calculated that they had the women’s vote over the weekend but watched it slip away in the track of her tears.
I rarely agree with anything Maureen Dowd says but I think she, too, is closer to being correct than the Obama apologists’ use of the alleged “Bradley Effect” to explain why their boy wonder had to settle for second last night.
Speaking of tears, guess who was tearing up last night during Hillary’s victory speech? (h/t: ST reader Sparky)
Last but not least, MM blogs about Hillary and the “Access Hollywood” factor, and how shows like that (along with The View) work at making Hillary look more human and appealing to women’s voters. It’s an interesting read.
Today is the Day After Yesterday. And Tomorrow is Another Day. Or, er, you know what I mean. It ain’t over til’ it’s over.