Reverse Bradley Effect

This interview from The Daily Show is a few days old, and probably nothing new to Troppo’s tuned-in readers. But it’s too delightful to let anyone miss.

John Stewart: Are you concerned, in some respects, that you may go in the voting booth, and your white half will suddenly decide, ‘I can’t do this’?”

Obama: It’s a problem. I’ve been going through therapy to make sure I vote properly on the 4th.

It’s telling that Obama manages to extract a genuine laugh from Stewart. What ever one might think about Obama, I can’t remember a national leader who was capable of being this relaxed, un-self-conscious and witty in an interview with a comedian. Reagan might be a candidate, but his relaxed and spontaneous lines always felt rehearsed. Keating was capable of being fresh and arresting, but his wit was aggressive, and prone to make as many enemies as friends.

But if ‘independent’ American voters find him as charming even as Reagan, that’s bad news for John McCain.

I find the idea of a ‘reverse Bradley effect’ quite plausible, at least as far as the South is concerned. But I’m wondering if we’ll see something more profound — a melting of the hard-core Republican vote in the Midwest and West, as millions of working class people quietly notice that right wing ideology, like racism, lacks a rational foundation.

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15 years ago

I wonder how many US voters there are who will be keen to show the rest of the world that the US is NOT, in fact, racist. By US-voters I mean those who didn’t vote Dem last time, but this time around might tip the result.

Given Obama’s apparent popularity in the rest of the world and the perception he is a shoe-in, non-Americans would be lining up to jeer should Obama lose, or, more pointedly, should the GOP managed to conjure up a victory.

15 years ago

What ever one might think about Obama, I cant remember a national leader who was capable of being this relaxed, un-self-conscious and witty in an interview with a comedian.

This is particularly striking when you consider that there is less than a week until election day and the pressure and fatigue of everyday campaigning has not extinguished that capability. In fact, Dan Rather made a similar observation about Obama’s interview on The Rachel Maddow Show, which is also worth watching (note there are two segments to the interview).

Nicholas Gruen
15 years ago

John McCain is actually quite a bit funnier than Obama when it gets to comedy – judging by the YouTube clips I put up a while back. But Obama is cooler and more relaxed – it’s true.

Jack Strocchi
Jack Strocchi
15 years ago

OBamas race is a net positive for him, as against the so-called Bradley effect. THere are more middle class white Americans attracted to his gentlemanly black persona than there are working class white Americans repelled by his radical black identity.

So I predict that there will be a strong Sydney Poitier/Harry Belafonte/Morgan Freeman vote for Obama come Wednesday. This implies that Obama’s presidential popular vote will exceed the DEM’s congressional popular vote.

Possibly reinforcing the Obama>DEM margin will be a slight countervailing tendency amongst electors to vote against the party of the President in the congressional elections. This so-called see-saw effect (dubbed by Mickey Kaus) may slightly depress the DEM congressional vote.

(One can perhaps see this see-saw effect in the tendency for AUS voters to vote against the HoR govt party in the SENATE and STATE elections.)

I predict (totally off the top of my head and on the basis of no research) that this moderating tactical voting tendency will be most evident in Purple (swing) and Red States. This is consistent with “reverse Bradley effect” allowing traditionally REP voters to indulge in a sort of “National Sorry Day” bit of political symbolism for the US.

(Although I think that Obama/DEMs are electable on their own policy merits, just as McCain/REPs are rejectable on their policy demerits.)

Does anyone want to hazard a prediction of the popular vote? In May 2008 I predicted a DEM landslide (= 53%+).

My psphological model is heavily slanted towards the econometric and politico-metric cyclical models put out by Ray Fair and Douglas Hibbs. They look conservative now, esp in the light of the latest REP financial policy disaster.

DOes anyone know what the long-range predictions of the Alpha psehobloggers (Mumbles, Poll Bludger, Possum) were? What were Club Troppo and Crooked Timber predicting? I am most eager to see who can win the own-pocket-pissing contest.

Please, lets have some psephological predictions put out there for testing. Preferably quantitative or at least with a clearly defined sign.

Who cares what MSM psephos think. They either never venture a prediction (that Antony Green from the ABC) or are nearly always wrong (Malcolm Mackerras).

Joshua Gans
15 years ago

I’m not qualified, but Glenn Greenwald’s prediction seems plausible:

Popular vote: Obama – 51.6%; McCain – 47.1%; Nader/Barr/others: 1.3%

Electoral votes: Obama – 321-217 (Kerry states + CO, NM, IA, VA, NC, OH)