Measuring the Bradley Effect

The Princeton Election Consortium published an article a few weeks back discussing the diminishing effect of race in our elections; its pretty much a must read. Within the article a graph appears tracing the evolution of racial bias in public polling, the results were surprising. Based on the chart African American candidates have just recently started over performing relative to election polling. This information is all very interesting, but there is no data on the Bradley Effect for a National campaign; it is impossible to tell how race will impact the 2008 Presidential Election. It is thus plausible to assume, for the sake of comparison, that the Bradley Effect is real and will affect Obama.

I've taken the liberty to include a racial bias coefficient into the projection algorithm for a little experiment. The Princeton graph provides a ceiling (or floor, depending on how you look at it) for racially induced bias in public polling at around 5%. I've taken that 5% and incorporated it into the algorithm as follows:

Obama's Projection:
I calculate his projection and then subtract 5% of it to arrive at his adjusted projection.

McCain's Projection:
I start by figuring out the number of undecided voters in at the end of the initial projection; this is done by subtracting 100 from McCain's and Obama's initial projection. I then add this number to McCain's projection along with 5% of Obama's initial projection to arrive at McCain's adjusted projection.

The English version of all this reads as follows: I assume that 5% of Obama's support is racially tinged so I add it to McCain's total while subtracting it from Obama's. I then also assume that all the currently undecided voters, 5% are racist and as a result will vote for McCain. The result of this application can be seen in the map below:

Bradley Effect 5% Racial Bias

If the Bradley Effect manifests itself in the upcoming election, Obama would still win.

While I was messing around with the math I wondered what the outcome would be if all currently undecided voters suddenly moved to McCain en masse:

Independent Rush to McCain

A tie? But this year a tie goes to the African American. In the event of a tie the decision rests within the House of Representatives. Each state's delegation receives one votes. Based up upon the current and probable makeup of the 111th Congress, Barack Obama would almost assuredly become the 44th President.

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10 Response(s) to Measuring the Bradley Effect

10/10/2008 7:22:22 PM CT

There is no Bradely effect for Younger Voters.

They see trough lies

10/11/2008 12:02:31 AM CT

Don't forget the opposite of the Bradley Affect: people who vote for Obama just because he is black. Mostly this consists of black people and other minorities but also people like me who don't really give a crap about politics and just want to piss off the racists.
Steven Strauss
10/11/2008 5:25:14 PM CT


Your Obama vote is welcome even if it's only to piss off racists. I have more reasons than that to vote for Obama but it's even more fun now that you mention it.
10/11/2008 7:49:45 PM CT

The Bradley Affect may work against John McCain. His supporters may not bother showing up at the polls. After all, he is loosing, despicable, uninspiring, and really not worth voting for even for a determined republican.

Meanwhile, Obama voters are on a MISSION to get their man elected. Never have we seen so many work so hard and so long to identify voters and convince people to think of the possibility of change. These people are inspired, motivated, determined and seriously love Barack. It is like their lives depend on this election, and for some, that is the truth.

The question voters ask themselves ... In 4 years will I say "I was so happy to be a part of voting in this President" or "I wouldn't want to have to admit I voted for this President"
Peter Wintersteller
10/11/2008 9:41:29 PM CT

I actually think that the only voters he is inspiring now, with the help of his two pit-bulls in lipstick, are his base. Unfortunately some of them, seemingly, would rather vote with a firearm than with a ballot. They are rabid.
10/19/2008 6:49:53 PM CT

All of U are on your nees praying ther isn't one, well guess what?, stay tuned.................
10/20/2008 6:51:00 AM CT

Sounds like you Nobama supporters are alittle nervous concerning the Bradley affect. Well, tighten your seatbelts, Nov. 4th is going to be a bumpy night for you demonrats. The truth hurts. Nobama"s lies are coming home to roost!!!!!
10/22/2008 2:45:07 PM CT

I find the continual nasty insulting comments on such reply spots are an insult to my intelligence. I find these comments just about everywhere and you all should be ashamed of your own lack of control. America is in a lot of trouble no matter who wins if this is how low her citizens have stooped. Clean it up.
11/2/2008 9:54:56 AM CT

I'm voting for Obama.... why? We HAVE to have some CHANGE here, folks. We have too many problems to NOT vote for change. BUT... don't get angry with me... I'm also voting for a REPUBLICAN Senate and House to be sure theres some balance and reason. An ALL Democrat government would be devastating to this country... but then so would and ALL Republican government. And... as for increasing taxes on ANYone... No.... NO, NO, NO... that's probably about the dumbest idea going.... But Obama can't do that without the support of the other elected government officials. I think he is best suited just to sit down and throw out some ideas for everyone to think about. He does have a fresh view. I certainly would NOT want all his ideas to become law... some are pretty stupid. But still... I'd like to see something fresh.
11/2/2008 2:45:34 PM CT

Idiot. The Senate and House are going to be vastly Democratic. Any idea Obama wants has a very good chance of becoming law. If you don't like his ideas... DON'T VOTE FOR HIM!

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