The Bradley Effect

November 2, 2008

Ever hear of it?

When a white and a non-white candidate are running for office, many people will tell pollsters that they are voting for the non-white candidate so they sound less racist or something.  Read about it here.

I have hears statistics that the Bradley Effect has been as much as 6 points so far this campaign.  Meaning Obama’s poll numbers are 6 points higher than they should be, mostly in states with very few blacks (read the article for the explanation to that one).

As you know by now, I am a nerd.  Ergo, I have taken Yahoo’s Political Dashboard and calculated the following:

As it stands now, assuming the Bradley Effect to be zero, we have the following map:

(Bradley Effect at 0)

There are several states which the polls indicate are closer than 6 points.  I will slowly increase the Bradley Effect until we reach 6 points.

(Bradley at 1%)

With a 1% Bradley Effect, North Carolina changes hands (actually, at 0.3%).

No change at 2% or 3%.

(Bradley at 4%)

Virginia changes at 3.8%.

(Bradley at 5%)

Now this is the stuff Political Science dreams are made of!  At 4.2%, Ohio and Florida go McCain.  At 4.5%, Colorado does.  At that point, there is an electoral tie!  Both candidates have 269 electoral votes, and they need 270 to win.  At that point, the House of Representatives gets to vote on the new President.  The last time that happened was 1825, when they chose J. Q. Adams.

Who would win this vote?  Good question.  Each state would vote as a bloc, and each state would have one vote.  I presume this means that the (for example) Florida delegation would meet, vote on who they want, and whoever got the most out of the Florida delegation would get Florida’s one vote.

According to this:

Democrats control 26 delegations

Republicans 21

And 3 are split evenly.

Theoretically that means Obama would win that scenario.

(Bradley at 6)

At 6 points, Nevada goes red and the election goes to McCain.

With such limited data sets, it is impossible to predict the extent of the Bradley Effect, if any.  The point is, this election will probably not be a landslide for anyone.


One Response to “The Bradley Effect”

  1. RaiulBaztepo Says:

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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