PJ Media

PC Effect, Not Bradley Effect, May Haunt Obama

Barack Obama has recently improved in the polls and is strongly favored to win our presidential election. Should he fail in his attempt, a mythical excuse now hovers in the ether as a means to beatify him. Racism will be fingered as the rationale behind the public’s rejection. This explanation is entirely irrational but will soothe the tender sensitivities of Democrats, as it bolsters their (seemingly innate) feelings of self-righteousness. Tying Obama’s loss to racism will burnish pride. Manufactured will be the conclusion that pseudo-liberals are more morally advanced than their conservative foes. The political left will claim that they were above race and point to the mixed ethnicity of their champion, whereas it will be implied that the right was not “ready” for a man of Obama’s stature and alleged excellence.


Various mainstream media members have already embraced this illogical line of argumentation. CNN’s Jack Cafferty proudly circulated the fallacy, noting: “Race is arguably the biggest issue in this election, and it’s one that nobody’s talking about. The differences between Barack Obama and John McCain couldn’t be more well-defined. Obama wants to change Washington. McCain is a part of Washington and a part of the Bush legacy. Yet the polls remain close. Doesn’t make sense … unless it’s race.”

Yet Mr. Cafferty overlooked the fact that leftists everywhere, such as Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, breathed so much life into this topic that it may well be able to transport itself to the polls on November 4. Sebelius proclaimed, “Have any of you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American? That may be a factor. All the code language, all that doesn’t show up in the polls. And that may be a factor for some people.”

Of course, allusions to racism are but a false dichotomy. There is a plethora of legitimate reasons for rejecting Barack Obama as president. That we must either endorse his candidacy or admit to being malignant racists is a risible notion. Much has been written about what is known as the Bradley effect (peruse this fine article by Stephen Green that appeared at Pajamas Media for more information). Specifically, the effect suggests that white voters may lie to pollsters about whom they are going to support if the candidate in question is black. The phenomenon is referenced whenever a black candidate garners impressive numbers in exit polling, but manages to under-perform once the final votes are tallied. (Of course, in disharmony with this effect, John Kerry was a perfect example of exit polling data not matching final vote tallies.) It receives its name from black politician Tom Bradley, who lost the 1982 California governor’s race after being significantly ahead in pre-election polling. To those who buy into the theory, Obama’s lead must be weighty in order for it to endure.


Perhaps its popularity is what caused Sebelius and Cafferty to intimate that the American people possess a nineteenth-century sensibility in regard to race. As always, the mainstream media were happy to lend their emotive keyboards to the process of validating these slanders, as demeaning the general population is a cause they cherish. They highlighted (re: celebrated) a recent poll from Stanford which purportedly gave credence to such pessimism. The academic survey found that “racial misgivings” may reduce Obama’s aggregate results. In the words of one of the researchers, “[t]here are a lot fewer bigots than there were 50 years ago, but that doesn’t mean there’s only a few bigots.” A closer examination of the data showcased that a third of white Democrats are the individuals who may harbor negative views of blacks.

That some Democrats — members of a party completely obsessed with race and every other form of politically correct effluvia — are racist is hardly surprising. The political left is to racism as John Elway was to fourth-quarter comebacks. However, what quickly becomes apparent about this survey of attitudes (go to the blue box on the right-hand side of the page and hit the link, “full poll results,” to see the study’s conclusions in detail) is that, while the demographics of the study group were broadly representative of the population as a whole, the researchers consciously chose to analyze whites in isolation.


Responses to questions were broken down into the subgrouping “whites only” and “all respondents.” What a queer and shady method by which to analyze data. Why, if the unstated purpose of their investigation was to ascertain what people think of Barack Obama, were “blacks only” omitted as a subgroup? No doubt it was intentional and a product of the academics’ belief that their inclusion would make a mockery of the study’s conclusions. This is due to blacks being human, and no random collection of human opinion will ever meet the strict parameters for enlightenment as set by the sterile dictates of political correctness.

The bottom line is that the poll’s discoveries were totally mundane. The media avoided the reporting of exculpating tidbits such as Barack Obama having led all public figures with a 30 percent “very favorable” rating. Further, that 82 percent of whites versus 84 percent of “all respondents” agreed with the statement that Barack Obama’s race was not going to influence their vote is another eventuality which journalists thought best not to mention.

More damning is that Pew Research conducted a poll of their own earlier this year addressing the perceptions of blacks, whites, and Hispanics towards one another. Its revelation — “the overall portrait of race relations is one of moderation, stability, and modest progress” — was too positive for journalists to acknowledge. Pew differed from Stanford by neglecting to isolate whites as a group. On this occasion, 82 percent of whites had a “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” opinion of blacks. In harmony with Caucasian perception, 80 percent of blacks perceived whites in a “very favorable” or “mostly favorable” light. The proper conclusion to draw from this information is that America’s citizens are a high-functioning and kindly lot; however, good news will not pique the interest of our press corps, which remains mired in the days of segregation.


A defining characteristic of the fashion by which the media attempts to mislead and indoctrinate our people is through omission of fact. Should whites fail to embrace Senator Obama it proves their underlying racism, but if blacks back him near unanimously — as they overwhelmingly did in the Democratic primaries of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi — it proves that they… supported a Democratic candidate. The sultans of spin were pleased to publicize the results from Stanford, yet analyzing it in the context of monolithic black support for Obama remains off limits. Clearly, racism is in the eye of the fabricator.

In all likelihood, a biracial background has been a net positive for the junior senator from Illinois. Were it not for his mixed ethnicity he would continue to merely represent my state as opposed to being the nation’s presumptive savior. Geraldine Ferraro had it right when she said, “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

We certainly are, unfortunately. White guiltists everywhere have queued up in diversity droves to stand with him. My town now pulsates with every manner of yuppie sporting his kitsch. Personally, in regards to the Bradley effect, I do not doubt that Obama will under-perform on November 4 and perhaps even among those wearing the goofy symbols of his personality cult. The rationale for a possible disparity between pre-election polling and his final results will be more a product of political correctness than racism. Thus, a PC, or politically correct, effect is the accurate term, rather than one bearing the name of Bradley.


Many whites may countermand their public utterances in the privacy of the voting booth, and the most likely justification for their doing so is that political correctness has cowed and emasculated them to the point in which a passive-aggressive rebellion is the only one viable. PC is a bully which eventually alienates most of those who are exposed to it. The thought processes of the person who abandons Obama in private do not involve “I don’t like Barack because he’s black,” but instead, “Fine, I told those idiots what they wanted to hear and now I’ll do what I want to do.”

Most people do not want trouble and having vigorous arguments in the street with activists/pollsters counts as “trouble” in their eyes. This is definitely true of moderates who bear the appellation they do as a function of being less resolute than the rest of us. Swing voters are swing voters for a reason. Generally, they are not very serious about politics and possess no underlying ideology.

As opposed to answering questions about preference in the manner of conservatives — “Of course I’m not voting for Barack Obama. He’s a leftist!” — they will consider superfluous factors like confidence level, speaking style, appearance, and what others think of their choice. The latter is key in this context. The perceptions of others fuel what we term the PC effect. It’s politically correct to back Barack so many vow to do so, but ultimately they may reconsider.


Certainly, these are bleak days for the McCain campaign. Perhaps the natural inclination of people to stand up to a bully will force the timid to reverse their past declarations and assert themselves on Election Day — and, thereby, alter the course of history.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member