Eliminating the Bradley Effect

In recent weeks, a lot has been made about the so-called Bradley effect. There is some dispute about the real significance of it. However, most agree that only on election day will we see the true impact of the racial factor.

It is clear that any African-American candidate vying for the presidency had to be outstanding. He had to run a near-flawless campaign and advocate for policies that resonated with large segments of the population. The latest polls would indicate that Barack Obama fits that candidate’s profile.

Characterized as a post-racial candidate and running in an election where the economy seems to trump all the other issues, there are grounds for optimism among Obama supporters. But this election has been full of surprises. John McCain is finally making a case for his view of the world rather than making personal attacks. Will it be enough and is it not too late?

McCain has run an erratic campaign and his choice of Palin has led prominent conservatives, including former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein, to support Obama. All signs favour Obama 72 hours from voting day. Advance voting seems to favour the Democratic ticket, as do the issues. A victory by Obama after a well-run campaign would be seen in a very positive light within and beyond the borders of America .

So we will see on Tuesday whether there is a racial bias working against Obama. This is not to say that race is the only factor that can cause Obama to lose. It is that Obama is the one black candidate that has run the kind of campaign meant to neutralize the pernicious effects of racism. And if he succeeds, Bradley will then become a footnote in history.

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