Obama leads McCain in polls, but pundits warn of “Bradley Effect”

By Heather Yamour, KUNA,

Washington : With the US general election days away, polls show Barack Obama leading Republican contender John McCain between five to nine points but some political pundits warn the “Bradley Effect” could turn the tide against Obama on Election Day. The “Bradley Effect” is named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American candidate for governor in California who lost the race in 1982 to a white Republican opponent despite polls predicting he would win.

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Political analysts believe the polls turned out wrong in the past because voters did not want to appear bigoted and falsely told pollsters they were voting for Bradley.

And there are several other examples where black candidates won — a New York mayor and a Virginia governor — but their margin of victory was only 1 or 2 points, even though polls showed them ahead by 9 points or more prior to the elections.

“Senator Obama will win by more than the polls show because this election has been about whether or not people feel comfortable with Senator Obama,” Democratic political analyst Matt Littman says.

“The Democrats are going to win. It’s going to be a big victory,” he added “I do not believe people are hiding their vote. Maybe a few, sure, but not enough that it will make any sort of difference.” Some pundits have suggested Obamas unexpected loss to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary election in January might have been an example of the Bradley effect. Many analysts believe the “Bradley effect” is dated — that far fewer Americans are concerned about race in 2008, especially during tough economic times. But questions about this topic will not be settled until after the election.

Asked on Comedy Centrals Daily Show with Jon Stewart whether he was worried about the Bradley effect, Obama said he was not.

“Theyve been saying that for a while, but were still here. I dont think white voters have gotten this memo about the Bradley effect,” he said, while being interviewed via satellite ahead of a rally in Florida.

“We are now counting down every single vote. And the crowds are terrific. And I think weve got a good shot at this thing,” Obama said Stewart noted that Obama is the biracial son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya.

He asked if Obama might go into the voting booth and decide he could not cast the ballot for himself.

“Its a problem,” Obama joked. “Ive been going through therapy to make sure that I vote properly on the 4th.” Researchers claim that many U.S. voters perceive Obama to be less American than former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

According to a new psychological study, John McCain and Hillary Clinton were also thought to be more American than the Democrat presidential favorite. The extraordinary results were based on a common research technique testing peoples subconscious thought process to reveal their preferences and prejudices.