Time.com: In Battleground Virginia, a Tale of Two Ground Games

Time.com (10/12/08)

In Battleground Virginia, a Tale of Two Ground Games

We haven’t seen a race like this in Virginia — ever,” said state GOP Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick. “The last time was 40 years ago, and they didn’t run races like this.”

…With so much at stake, and time running short, Frederick did not feel he had the luxury of subtlety. He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points — for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: “Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon,” he said. “That is scary.” It is also not exactly true — though that distorted reference to Obama’s controversial association with William Ayers, a former 60s radical, was enough to get the volunteers stoked. “And he won’t salute the flag,” one woman added, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man who called out, “We don’t even know where Senator Obama was really born.” Actually, we do; it’s Hawaii.

The UpTake: McCain Volunteer Sends Out “Obama is an Arab” Letters

The UpTake (10/12/08)

McCain Volunteer Sends Out “Obama is an Arab” Letters

Gayle Quinnel, a John McCain supporter says at a McCain Rally that “Obama is an Arab”. She is quickly corrected by John McCain who takes away her microphone.

Quinnel says she obtained the information on Obama being an Arab at “her local library” and from a pamphlet obtained at a local McCain campaign office (provided by a fellow volunteer not the campaign itself). She has taken it upon herself to redistribute the information as widely as possible by making copies of the pamphlet and sending it to random names in the phone book.

New York Times: Do Polls Lie About Race?

New York Times (10/12/08)

Do Polls Lie About Race?

In recent days, nervous Obama supporters have traded worry about a survey — widely disputed by pollsters yet voraciously consumed by the politically obsessed — that concluded racial bias would cost Mr. Obama six percentage points in the final outcome. He is, of course, about six points ahead in current polls. See? He’s going to lose.

If he does, it wouldn’t be the first time that polls have overstated support for an African-American candidate. Since 1982, people have talked about the Bradley effect, where even last-minute polls predict a wide margin of victory, yet the black candidate goes on to lose, or win in a squeaker. (In the case that lent the phenomenon its name, Tom Bradley, the mayor of Los Angeles, lost his race for governor, the assumption being that voters lied to pollsters about their support for an African-American.)

But pollsters and political scientists say concern about a Bradley effect — some call it a Wilder effect or a Dinkins effect, and plenty call it a theory in search of data — is misplaced. It obscures what they argue is the more important point: there are plenty of ways that race complicates polling. Considered alone or in combination, these factors could produce an unforeseen Obama landslide with surprise victories in the South, a stunningly large Obama loss, or a recount-thin margin. In a year that has already turned expectations upside down, it is hard to completely reassure the fretters.