Is the Bradley Effect real?

MU Poli-Sci professor Marvin Overby says no.  The Bradley Effect describes the notion that voters will tell pollsters that they will/have voted for a minority candidate when in reality they vote for the Caucasian opponent.

The Bradley effect was even doubtful during the California gubernatorial race of 1982, Overby said, during which the effect’s namesake—an African-American Dem—lost to his white, Republican opponent Deukmejian.

Overby doesn’t think the effect exists for two main reasons. He first began with a caveat: election happenings stem from numerous causes and are very hard to nail down to one source.

According to Overby, exit polls historically over-represent Democrats and/or the more enthusiastic party.  Obviously, the more enthusiastic the party, the more likely a voter is going to talk to a pollster as they exit the polls.

Also, Overby thinks that the vast majority of people do not feel the need to hide their choices.  People plainly report the candidate they voted for.  


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