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10 de Enero, 2008

Clinton's New Hampshire Win and The Bradley Effect

Categorized under Gobierno , M , Race for '08 | Tags: , , , ,

[M is a guest blogger and leather wearing administratrix at The Unapologetic Mexican. She can normally be found at Problemchylde.]

I don't like assuming the worst about people (*smirk*), but there has always been some knowledge of the fact that liberal whites will tailor their responses to prevailing assumptions of equality and justice when asked about issues of race, gender, sexuality, disability, or what have you. However, what people say and what people do are often much different matters. When it comes down to it, Witentity Pollatix will take the forefront unless our country takes its racism and all the consequences from racism seriously.

It happens often in the blogosphere, where people will chastise ICE officers for separating a mother and child while branding the victims illegal aliens in the same breath. Or when a transwoman comes out to the world and news reports and progressive bloggers describe all of his new experiences and the responses to his announcement. Actions regularly don't synch up with rhetoric. And Nez's Wite-Magik Attax wouldn't be nearly as popular if they did.

So imagine my astonishment when I learned that this lack of synchronicity has a name when you enter the political sector with candidates of color vying for public office.

What the Bradley/Wilder effect is, according to Wikipedia:

The term Bradley effect or Wilder effect refers to a phenomenon which has led to inaccurate voter opinion polls in some American political campaigns between a white candidate and a non-white candidate.[1][2][3] Specifically, there have been instances in which statistically significant numbers of white voters tell pollsters in advance of an election that they are either genuinely undecided, or likely to vote for the non-white candidate, but those voters exhibit a different behavior when actually casting their ballots. White voters who said that they were undecided break in statistically large numbers toward the white candidate, and many of the white voters who said that they were likely to vote for the non-white candidate ultimately cast their ballot for the white candidate. This reluctance to give accurate polling answers has sometimes extended to post-election exit polls as well.

Researchers who have studied the issue theorize that some white voters give inaccurate responses to polling questions because of a fear that they might appear to others to be racially prejudiced. Some research has suggested that the race of the pollster conducting the interview may factor into that concern. At least one prominent researcher has suggested that with regard to pre-election polls, the discrepancy can be traced in part by the polls' failure to account for general conservative political leanings among late-deciding voters.

I honestly didn't know the phenomenon had a name. Learning new shit everyday.

I've never been much of a political blogger to track elections bit by bit, but the recent events in New Hampshire perked my ears enough that I felt I should share something. Besides, when Nez comes back, he can still step in and say things ten times better.

Prometheus 6 posted a YouTube vid where a caller describes her experiences as a pollster in New Hampshire and her opinions of the media spin after the Iowa caucuses:

Check out the other videos in his post, too. Do you agree with this caller's assessment that the media's focusing on Clinton's loss in the Iowa caucuses set her up as the underdog?

A strong example of the Bradley effect in media coverage is U.S. feminist icon Gloria Steinem's recent op-ed in the New York Times. Brown Femi Power assembled a link farm of women of color bloggers that have responded to her divisive remarks in favor of supporting Hillary Clinton. But I want to show you a general comparison of Steinem's views in her own words.

Very early in the game, when Obama and Clinton were rumored to try for the nom...

EVEN before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton threw their exploratory committees into the ring, every reporter seemed to be asking which candidate are Americans more ready for, a white woman or a black man?

...The question is also destructive because it’s divisive. In fact, women of all races and men of color — who together form an underrepresented majority of this country — have often found themselves in coalition. Both opposed the wars in Vietnam and Iraq more and earlier than their white male counterparts. White women have also been more likely than white men to support pro-equality candidates of color, and people of color have been more likely to support pro-equality white women.

It’s way too early to know which candidate will earn trust or survive Swift-boating, but forcing a choice between race and sex only conceals what’s really going on.

--from "Right Candidates, Wrong Question" (New York Times, February 7, 2007)

Immediately before the New Hampshire primary, with a chance in hell that Obama or Clinton could win...

Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House. This country is way down the list of countries electing women and, according to one study, it polarizes gender roles more than the average democracy.

That’s why the Iowa primary was following our historical pattern of making change. Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot, and generally have ascended to positions of power, from the military to the boardroom, before any women (with the possible exception of obedient family members in the latter).
from "Women Are Never Front-Runners" (New York Times, January 8, 2008)

Same person. Speaking on the same candidates. Yet very contradictory opinions on racism, sexism, and the U.S. presidency once the stakes are raised for a Political First.

It's no wonder that people believe once liberals have been tossed a tiny bone, they fracture off in the fight for the scrap of meat dangling off it.

And in other sad news, Bill Richardson dropped out of the Democratic race today.

As he has all along, he touted his attributes — an experienced negotiator, someone who would seek diplomatic solutions. During his campaign, Mr. Richardson often cut through long-winded answers (and sometimes his own) by offering up simple changes. For example, he often said he had a one-point plan for Iraq: Get Out. On the Leave No Child Behind Act: Scrap it.

But with such starpower of Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as the populist appeal and deeply embedded organization of John Edwards, Mr. Richardson couldn’t get enough traction. He had wistfully said just recently that he wanted to stick it out through the Nevada caucuses this weekend and then primaries in the Western states.

But in the end, he wasn’t raising enough money or drawing enough support to continue. He’s been asked several times whether he would accept an offer to be someone’s vice president, but has always said that being governor of New Mexico was a far better job.

I found myself impressed with him in the New Hampshire debates, even though I was less than awed by his tempered pacing. (He could probably turn the State of the Union address into a three hour tour.) But his ideas were good. He probably isn't sexy enough for the presidency, but I liked his style.

Nez did a mini-spotlight of Richardson's credentials a few days back; I'm personally sad to see Richardson out. Maybe another time.

What are you guys thinking about Election 2008 so far? I've already revealed my own biases by not even bothering with the Rethuglican side of matters (McCain won and shit happened). And who's tired of this amorphous guarantee of change? I think we've had enough change in the past 8 years: we're geared for paranoia as far as national security, we're in the midst of a war, the cost of living keeps skyrocketing, there's a renewed effort to racialize and villainize immigrants and the working poor (but I suppose that's not new), and our position as Top Dog economically is slumping. Will these candidates bring positive changes to our nation and how we're represented in the world? I want a little less posturing for conversation and a little more action for creating and maintaining peace, for sustaining good economic and environmental health, and for emphasizing the humanity behind the political rhetoric.

All of this can't happen with one election in the U.S., but surely it can start from here?

EDIT: Wayne at Electronic Village asks, "Will Bill Richardson Become the Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson for Hispanics?" I'm wondering about why it was so underemphasized that Richardson's Latino since the identity politics for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are so heavy. Also, the two people vying for the Green Party ticket are both black women -- Elaine Brown (a former Panther) and Cynthia McKinney (a former Democrat). How much third party action are we gonna see for '08?

Okay, scratch the Elaine Brown announcement; she dropped her candidacy and renounced membership of the Green Party:

I believe the leadership of the Green Party of the United States has been seized by neo-liberal men who entrench the Party in internecine antagonisms so as to compromise its stated principles and frustrate its electoral and other goals. They have made it impossible to advance any truly progressive ideals or objectives under the umbrella of the Green Party, and, thus, rendered it counterproductive for me to go forward as a Green Party candidate or member.

I believe this small clique that has captured control of the Party has transformed it into a repository for erstwhile, disgruntled Democrats, who would violate the Party’s own vision and sabotage the good will and genuine commitment of the general membership. Indeed, these usurpers foster a reactionary agenda, supporting partisans in and backers of the Bush wars and disavowing the Party’s more progressive tenets in favor of promoting high-profile participation in the politics of the establishment.

Anyone surprised at her allegations?

[posted by Sylvia/M: light on politics; heavy on cynicism]

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Comentarios (12)

No One of Consequence dijo:


Richardson is not so big a loss to me. He's a pawn of Citigroup and -- worse -- did little (if not, via indiferrence, facilitated) voter fraud in his state when the Repugs did their best to disinfranchise brown people. . . specifically, Native Americans. What was it this blog's glossary said? White is a state of mind.

I'm not surprise to see Steinem's flip. Feminism has _long_ been struck down racial lines, partly because the goals of white women are very different from the (much more progressively economic) goals of women of color. Plus, white men have, in fact, given more up, economically, to white women than to any other disadvantaged group. Affirmative action's biggest winners: white women. This shouldn't be a shock to someone who grew up in the states.

Race will always, always, always trump gender as a dividing issue in the U.S. Yes, that makes even less biological sense than misogyny itself does, but we all know race isn't truly a biological construct, yes?

As for the race itself, we have been innudated in bullshit and, worse, many progressives have eaten it up. Many commentators I would otherwise respect have forgone hard-headed practicality, one of the better tools of our opponents (besides lies and violence) and, frankly, been swayed by stump speeches. Down to brass tacks: who's going to give us the most stuff? Imo, it's Edwards, just because of health care alone. (It is completely logical, even commendable, to be a one-issue voter when that issue can determine if you live or die and no other issue has the same command.)

So what about the other health care plans? Edwards' is the best pushed so far. (Ok, Kucinich probably has good ideas, but he cannot win -- even he knows that. We all know this song by heart.) Obama's was the weakest of the lead three. Worse, Obama got into a spat with Krugman when Obama started, well, lying. That right there is a sign that he might not institute the policy at all. If a pol is bullshitting on a major policy AND falling over himself not to peeve those people the policy will hurt, it's my conclusion that the pol will refuse to implement the policy once in office.

Iraq is a quagmire and there are no good choices there, just less bad ones. Foreign policy is rife with surprises so there's no betting on anyone to be successful there. U. Health care is a nice, clean policy conceptually. Implemented and every single human being in the U.S. benefits, physically and economically, immediately, with the only exceptions being aristocrats and insurance companies -- groups we want to weaken. Health care is a bellweather for the quality of our candidates. If a candidate cannot instute this policy, that candidate will be unable to enact other meaningful change. Thus, the candidate without UHC will half-ass it in Iraq, withdrawing in the worst way possible, half-ass global warming issues, poke at energy independence and so on. If a carpenter can't install doors and windows I expect he's not much for floors and roofs as well.

Personally, I've always thought (always = since 2006) Clinton would get the nomination . . .but Edwards should get it. Either way, if it's Clinton or Obama with the nomination, I predict we'll go another 4 years without a coherent health care policy and the crisis will exaggerate to truly absurd proportions. That will be the only real "change"; the abrogation of privacy and the nightmare of Iraq will be old hat.

M Author Profile Page dijo:


Oh wow; I didn't know his track record on voter disenfranchisement. Damn. I liked his temperament, his experience, and I think he made good points at the debate. Everyone else worked on soundbyting something for the media; I thought he did pretty well with merging talking points WITH something substantive he could do within his range of experience. Which was refreshing. And of course impractical for a presidential debate.

Steinem's flip is unsurprising in content because feminism is racially stratified in a lot of ways, but very surprising because it's very public and abnormally blatant. Compared to the simpering shit you normally see.

Oppression trump cards elude me because I'm a black woman. I get my share of racism or sexism, and sometimes a nice frothy blend of both. All of them are problems. All of them have divisive constructs. The trumps always surface when one stands to gain from making one of them take precedence over the other. It's never a genuine prioritizing, and it's always ineffective for describing people's realities. The constructs remain everpresent, though, as we rank them.

Right on when it comes to the one-issue voter tip. Life or death. Joseph Heller had a quote: "the enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on." Kinda filters out all the filler concerns.

The only change you make note of is virtually no change at all, of course. Which I suppose flies in the face of all this hope we're expected to muster in the government. Edwards likely will get the nomination in the face of it all. I don't see him as VP this time around.

mimi dijo:


On Steinem: I'm not going to be so quick to jam the stake into her heart.

One possibility not being considered is that she's merely acting political, as in, her own political interests. Let's say she's a Clinton supporter. I don't know if she is, but I'm just saying for the sake of the argument, let's say she is. Her first comments still jive with that.

Obviously, we shouldn't pick between which America is "ready for" -- a black man or a white woman -- that whole idea is bullshit. I read that she's saying historically the two groups have sort of been on the same side. (She's likely partly referring to Angela Davis' "Women, Race, and Class" theory.)

It's possible Steinem's public comments following Iowa's caucus -- made an entire year later than the first ones cited -- were not in direct opposition to the first comments.

That black men received the vote prior to women is a historic fact. I sincerely think one could believe gender is the most restricting force in America, and still believe and stand by the 2007 comment that race and gender miinorities have worked together.

Also -- Thanks for the political junkie lesson -- I didn't know that Bradley/Wilder phenomenom by name either. Good to be informed.

And -- Ditto on being bummed about Richardson's departure.

William (goodbyekitty) dijo:


GREAT post and comments!!!

On Richardson, no one of consequence says:

"He's a pawn of Citigroup and -- worse -- did little (if not, via indiferrence, facilitated) voter fraud in his state when the Repugs did their best to disinfranchise brown people. . . specifically, Native Americans. What was it this blog's glossary said? White is a state of mind."

That is what absolutely disgusted me about Richardson. If anyone here gets the chance, read the book "Armed Madhouse" by investigative reporter Greg Palast. it made me absolutely sick.

Sylvia/M says:

"I don't like assuming the worst about people (*smirk*), but there has always been some knowledge of the fact that liberal whites will tailor their responses to prevailing assumptions of equality and justice when asked about issues of race, gender, sexuality, disability, or what have you. However, what people say and what people do are often much different matters"

That is about the truth of it. I see it every day, in blogs, the MSM, friends and family. I'm starting to think that racism is imbeded in our melanin-deficient DNA. I am certain that there will be a quiet collective sigh of relief if if Obama does not get the nomination.

M Author Profile Page dijo:


Oh, Mimi, I definitely agree that she's acting from her political interests. I think that's the most likely motivation. But the way it manifested kinda drove home the point of how theory and practice can diverge when it comes to decision making. Although the comment about what America is ready for is divisive, her main points to bolster why America should choose Clinton hedged heavily on that division.

"Women of all races and Black men and gays and lesbians and disability activists -- all of us have been working together and we can't fragment them. But...since it's right before the primary, there's some things about Black men getting the vote before women I think you should know, and gender's kinda worse in America than race. (Go Hillary!)"

When it boils down to it, you have to make a choice -- all of us have to. But the reasoning here contradicts her earlier calls for recognizing and encouraging coalition.

And no problem with the sharing of terms.

Someone wrote an article somewhere speculating about Richardson becoming the Latino Jesse Jackson since he's now a former presidential candidate, like Jackson. That idea's kinda trippy to me. I'll add it to the post.

M Author Profile Page dijo:


Thanks for the book tip, William. Adding it to my Amazon list now.

Bq dijo:


As Sylvia/M said, these sorts of arguments about what oppressions are "trump cards" are divisive. They are ridiculously simplistic, and they tend to be made the most by people who face one kind oppression but not others (simultanously). Oh yeah, and the assumption that HRC is a "radical" choice is a laugh. I thought the GS article was repellant.

William (goodbye kitty) dijo:


bq said:

..."HRC is a "radical" choice is a laugh"
Aint that the truth. She is just keeping in power the Bush/Clinton dynasty

chicano2nd dijo:


Great insight no one. Edwards should be the choice of brown. White is a state of mind but once it infects one's soul it is chronic cancer. (I used to say that whites are the cancer of the earth. I mentioned it to my woman and she freaked! Her background is Navajo, Irish, Mexican, and who knows what other gene pool mixtures abounded in Fort Union, N. Mexico. I changed it to the White Anglo Saxon Christian male but that was just to keep the peace (no pun intended).

The Bradley Effect, in actuality, is nothing more that the white state of mind behind closed doors (or voting booth curtains, etc.). A leopard can't change its spots. That is what is wrong with the Clinton and Obama campaigns. If either gets the nomination, the white man (and his subservient bitch) will have a momentary lapse of true Christian conscience, but they will not be able to allow themselves to pull the lever, punch the card, or touch the pinche screen of a non-white, non-male person candidate. That is why Edwards has to get the nomination if we want to avoid another Repugnantcan president. Let's show the cabrones who has the numeric power and then hope they don't neutron bomb us!

No One of Consequence dijo:


Armed Madhouse was where I first picked up my anti-Richardson tendencies. Palast has a way of finding out the worst in so many bad people. Go read it now.

And let's not forget Richardson's cheerleading behind NAFTA. He fucked over labor unions, acting as Citigroup's consierge in the 90's. Clinton relied on him and betrayed the labor forces that had gotten him the White House.

But as for the Lead Three on NAFTA -- it goes without saying that Clinton and Obama are disease-ridden whores on the subject. (NOTE: This is another good one-issue policy. If you're right on NAFTA, the only thing that can blow you out of the water is racism (see Paul, Ron). (Why am I so brazenly claiming such simplistic politics? To oppose NAFTA is basically to oppose our entire aristocracy. It's like opposing divine right of kings in 17th century Europe. You pretty much have to be progressive because no one else will be your ally. It may be an even better test than U. Health Care.)

Who has been righteous on NAFTA?

"Give credit where credit is due - Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich have all refused to equivocate on this issue coming down the pike."


Kucinich doesn't have the savvy to overcome the derisive treatment of his campaign. (Note that I'm not saying he's just held back by the Man(tm), I'm saying that for all his obvious skill as a Senator, he doesn't have the, well, capacity to cause pain that a presidential candidate needs. If he had it, they'd have to shut him out like Paul was shut out on the Repug side instead of just ignoring him.)

Kucinich and Edwards come to the table with the cleanest hands, from a moral-political standpoint. Possible exception: Iraq. Edwards was dirty here, but he did something Clinton (yay, murder and rape brown people for political cover, woo-hoo) and Obama (well, withdraw may be a bit much, I mean, come on, hey, where did I put that dick of mine?) could never do. He apologized. He said he was wrong. That still puts him below Kucinich -- frankly, he's a dumbshit for not knowing what most of you and I knew back in 2002. (Good lawyer, though. Go figure.) But Clinton -- who doesn't deserve the shit the right-wing media throws at her (go see http://www.dailyhowler.com/index.shtml for all that jazz) is way, way, WAAAAAY to arrogant to begin to admit error. I won't use the b-word because I use it exclusively for males since it plays to far too many misogynisic memes, so I'll call her what I'd call a guy who pull this shit: an insufferable asshole. And Obama is a well-spoken, articulate* insufferable asshole.

(*I'm a college-educated black male. I've been on the receiving end of the backhanded articulate complement. I am revelling in the irony.)

Ok, I've gone on for a long time, but you can see why I made up my mind to be for Edwards some time before the media decided that Obama was sofuking kewl omg omg!!!111!!!

What we brown people, regardless of ancestry, must do:

• Ignore everything that's being said by a candidate that doesn't reflect either a) a policy position they'll have once in office or b) who they will serve once in office.

• Concentrate on what the candidate has already done. Voted for the war? Ignored votes in Congress? Admittedly, this point is weak with the Repugs in power for so long -- not a lot to do.

• And, most importantly, ask which policies, once enacted, will definately, without doubt, improve our lives? There's nothing but UHC and NAFTA repeal to really hit home, and the former is the only realistic one.

If someone here can convince me that Obama WILL, without any doubt, back a solid UHC plan that Krugman can't poke a hole through after 10 seconds of casual thought, I won't necessarially back Obama but it will change my thinking.

If someone can convince me that Clinton WILL, without any doubt, end the Base System Eternal in Iraq before it starts, well. . . ok, she's got a lot of fucking baggage and nothing short of divine revelation could really pull me to her side, but I would still be impressed. I'm sure most people on this blog feel the same way.

End result: perversely enough, black people shouldn't vote for the black guy. If we want a black president, we'd better get a black govenor or senator on the ballot who has won not with mere compromise but with ruthlessness because anyone who's going to change the economic status of minorities in this country will piss off the most powerful elite in the world. Obama is not that guy. So there is no cultural reason for me to back him. Without that, I'm going for the guy who'll make it so I can quit a shitty job that I cling to just for the benefits.

Fuck benefits. Vote Edwards.

There's a slogan for ya.

No One of Consequence dijo:


While my extra-long rant is in moderation:

I'm wondering about why it was so underemphasized that Richardson's Latino since the identity politics for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are so heavy.

Here's a question -- this is not rhetorical, I want to know the answer: has Richardson specifically put himself out there to Latinos? Despite media protests about black political naievite (a right-wing mainstream passtime), blacks don't give black candidates free passes; you have to play the game some. I'd imagine the same rule applies to latinos. Richardson is literally The Man from some perspectives; being a firm part of the Establishment, he'd have to prove his bona fides to latinos before they came out in droves for him. Has that been done?

If it has, Sylvia's implied comment is correct: the media has been seriously ignoring this important angle about this candidate.

(By the way, I didn't mean to imply, if anyone thought this, that Richardson was dumb or anything near as bad as a neocon. I merely submit that he's a Corporate Whore in the Clinton mold. He's whip-smart, from what I can tell.)

And I'm glad to here about browns in the Green party. I was listening to some black commentators on NPR back in 2001-2 who said that blacks should be moving to the Green party in droves. The two groups complement each other. Green politics dovetail easily with progressive and racial politics (and anti-environmentalism, surprisingly, often has racial overtones -- check out what neighborhoods always gets the asthma-inducing bus station in each city). I think labor is a better source than environmentalism for the basis of a transformative third party in the U.S. (if Europe is any example), but, hell, there isn't a labor party so you go with the party you have.

chicano2nd dijo:


Regarding Richardson's fault, it comes down to this. At least we know what we are facing if we have to deal with a Cheney, a Wolfowitz, a Kristol, a Bush, an O'Reilly, a Hannity, a Dobbs, a Beck, a Coulter, a Limbaugh, or a Campbell Brown. With Ron Paul, you needed to look closely because his anti-Bush rhetoric is initially appealing but then you discover that he is a racist SOB Texan who vents his racism against Mexicans. Richardson is a political opportunist who supported his "friend" Alberto Gonzales, just like Sen. Ken Salazar, of Colorado. You had the feeling that they were reluctant to call for his removal because the affinity they felt because of brown connection and he represented a first as far as an appointment to the highest law enforcement position in the land. But he is a coconut. Richardson is somewhat analogous to Ron Paul. You need to look closely at what he represents and he is not progressive by any sense of the word and he would sell us out in a heartbeat,

Edwards has been shut out by the main stream media. That, in and of itself should tell you something. Hell, our gente needs trial lawyers, that's a plus for us.