The Little Boy Who Cried Racism
There has been one too many stories about how race somehow played a role in Barack Obama's defeat in the New Hampshire Primary. As anyone who reads this blog knows I am not shy about calling out racists. Nothing makes me more nuts than having some white political dilettante pretend it is 1959 and start going all George Wallace about black citizens in the public realm. (Yes, you know who you are.)
But those who think that Barack Obama's loss in NH was a product of the Bradley Effect are nuts. The Bradley Effect is realized when people tell pollsters that they will vote for a black candidate, but in actuality when they get into the privacy of the voting booth, their racial fears cause them to vote for a white candidate. There is some validity to this. In elections past, the data has been overwhelming.
The classic example of this is Doug Wilder's gubernatorial 1989 election in Virginia. Exit polling said that Wilder was going to win by a wide margin. When the votes were counted, the election was startlingly close. It was clear that voters coming out of the polling places lied to the pollsters about who they voted for. To some degree, many have suggested that the same thing happened in 2004 when exit polls showed Bush losing in certain areas but the ballots found him the winner. Were voters ashamed of voting for Bush so they lied? (others suggest that vote rigging was the culprit, while some claim that the polling was flawed.)
Obama's case is pretty simply none of the above. If you look at the pre-election polling, Obama was usually in the high 30s. He garnered 37% of the final count. The exit polls confirm that number pretty solidly. If folks were going to lie to pollsters with impunity, would they do it before the election or after? After is the obvious answer. Before they could plea undecided.
Hillary won simply because she captured the vast majority of undecided voters, increased turnout of her own supporters and seemingly pulled many votes away from John Edwards. There is nothing too hard to figure out there.
Yes. There are most definitely people in the United States who will not vote Obama because he is black
. These cretins should be ashamed. But racism is not what caused all the pollsters and pundits to screw up the prediction. That blunder had more to do with their egos than the data.
And that is why we have elections rather than coronations. G-d help us all if Chris Matthews and Dick Morris got to hand pick our leaders.