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How To Stop Worrying And Love The Election

Monday, October 06, 2008
Do you hear that flushing sound? That's John McCain's campaign.

A President of his party with 70% disapproval ratings. 80% of Americans thinking the country is on the wrong track. Down by double digits in Virginia and New Hampshire. Trailing by a steady 8 points nationwide. Getting out-spent and out-organized. Losing the first presidential and vice-presidential debates. Repeated campaign gaffes and strategic blunders (Cutting Medicare? Really? Is that your plan to win Florida?) The guy just can't seem to catch a break lately. Nobody has ever been this far down this late in the election and come back to win the popular vote. By any usual indicator, McCain is toast. If the election were today, McCain and the Republicans would probably be Carterized.

So Democrats ought to be feeling pretty good right now, right? Well, not necessarily. This weekend and I heard a lot of fear. I hear it a lot at work too. It's not trepidation that comes with being close to the end of a very long campaign. It's not even the learned pessimism that comes with being a Democrat in the Bush era. It's something far more specific than that.

There are a number of ways that McCain could pull out this election. He could effectively change the campaign narrative by re-focusing it on Obama. A terrorist attack or other international event could highlight McCain's perceived (and I think, unjustified) reputation for foreign policy expertise. Stranger things have happened. But what is really bothering people is the simple fact that Barack Obama is a black man, and people question whether white Americans are willing to pull the lever for him because of the color of his skin.

This is the so-called Bradley Effect, named after the black mayor of LA who was leading in the polls for Governor of California but lost narrowly on election day. The idea is simple - that white voters will tell pollsters that they're undecided because they don't want to be perceived as racist, when in fact they plan on voting against the black candidate. It's a seductive concept, and during the 1980's and 1990's there was some evidence for it. But let me be perfectly clear - there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that the Bradley Effect is still operative. Since 1996, it just hasn't happened (see this article for more details).

One could suggest that races for governor and congress are different - that Americans won't be willing to vote for a black man for president, because the presidency is a very different office. Perhaps. But even if there were still a pool of voters willing to vote for a Democrat but unwilling to vote for a black man, it still highly unlikely to be enough. The Bradley Effect is about undecided voters, and the fact is that as the polls stand now, Obama would easily win the election even if the overwhelming majority of undecideds voted against him. If the race were a 45-40, there might be reason to worry. But it's more like 50-42. In addition, any Bradley Effect would likely be neutralized by greater than expected turnout by black voters, as well as greater support (there's a weird reverse Bradley effect where a strange percentage of blacks say they're voting for the Republican in election polls and don't). There's the whole issue of undercounting cellphone-only users. Finally, undecided voters in elections are far more likely than others to be swayed by economic issues. Which candidate do you think that helps, hmmm?

Might the polls close in the next month? Sure, it could happen. Is it still possible McCain could win? Hey, anything is possible. I could find a winning lottery ticket on the sidewalk or be struck on the head by a flying spaghetti monster. But it's pointless to get excessively upset at what is a remote prospect.

So everybody chill out. He's got this.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 3:24 PM
  • Shhhh! Not so loud! They'll hear you! There's a group of grad students in my dept so freaked out about the Bradley effect that I almost convinced them to go help canvassing in the republican-run next district over, which we may have a chance of turning. They won't do anything if they don't think it's gonna be a desperate close call --- hell, when I see the polls, _I_ start making excuses that I don't have to go do work. There's a lot of good reasons why nobody is saying we've got it in the bag.

    By Blogger Sisyphus, at 2:04 AM  
  • *

    Recently an insurance company nearly wind up....

    A bank is nearly bankrupt......filing chapter 11 protection.

    How it affect you? Did you buy insurance? Did you buy mini note or bonds?

    Who fault?

    They bailout trouble finance company, but they will not bail out your credit card bills……You got no choice, and no point pointing finger but you can prevent similar things from happen again……

    The top management of the Public listed company ( belong to "public" ) salary should be tied a portion of it to the shares price ( IPO or ave 5 years ).... so when the shares price drop, it don't just penalise the investors, but those who don't take care of the company.....If this rule is pass on, without any need of further regulation, all industries ( as long as it is public listed ) will be self regulated......because the top management will be concern about their own pay check……
    Meanwhile if company was being acquired, there will be a great movement in terms of staff……eventually staff suffer also.
    Some might feel that it sound stupid….. as there is long and Short position…but in reality there is still many different caliber CEO…..so there is still long and short…..They can ban short selling definitely they can do something about this.......

    Are you a partisan?

    Sign a petition to your favourite president candidate, congress member, House of representative again and ask for their views to comment on this, and what regulations they are going to raise for implementation.....If you agree on my point, please share with many people as possible.... Finance and Media are the two only industries can shaken politics ( Maybe Hackers can ), please help to highlight also...


    Facebook, come and join as a friend and share with your friends…..

    By Blogger Remind Myself, at 12:39 PM  
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