The Prejudice That May Rear Its Head

Will Obama fall victim to the 'Bradley effect'?

I think that we will find that [they] won’t be as strong,” he says. Frey adds that the predicted surge in African American national turnout my overcome any downslide, but says, “Whether it will be in the states that matter a lot is another question.”

Scott Keeter, director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, says that questions about polling accuracy in this fall’s election have been among the most common because people are wondering about the Bradley effect. “We’ve taken a close look at this in five statewide elections in 2006, including the Tennessee Senate race involving moderate-to-conservative Democrat Harold Ford. There was no Bradley effect and the pre-election polling was accurate in all five,” Keeter says. Although the 2008 New Hampshire primary proved to be a “spectacular polling failure,” he adds, “there were states where Obama’s margin was overstated, but more where his margin was understated, including in several states that have large black populations.”

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