Politico: Do voters lie about racial concerns?


Do voters lie about racial concerns?

Less than a week before the 1989 election for Virginia governor, two newspaper polls showed L. Douglas Wilder, a black Democrat, comfortably ahead of his GOP opponent by between 9 and 11 points. But when the ballots were counted, it was a nail-biter that Wilder won by fewer than 7,000 votes. 

Political scientists dubbed it “the Wilder effect,” or referred to it by its earlier name, “the Bradley effect,” after Tom Bradley, the black mayor of Los Angeles who lost the 1982 California governor’s contest despite being up in the polls by as much as 22 points in the weeks before Election Day. 

“The Wilder effect, the Bradley effect, is on the minds of everybody, without exception,” Neil Newhouse, who directs NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling, said, referring to what pollsters say is the phenomenon of some white people lying to pollsters about their support for black candidates. 

The experiences of Bradley and Wilder loom ominously over Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, although opinion about the evidence of racially skewed polling in the election is mixed, political analysts said, and it was not seen in the Democratic primaries. 

A GOP pollster, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said that his surveys suggested polls were slightly overestimating support for Obama. 

A Democratic pollster, who also would not be quoted by name, said that when he surveyed Pennsylvania union members — who as a group tend to be older, white and working class — he found a striking 20 percent difference between how whites responded when questioned by blacks and how they responded when questioned by other whites. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: