Update--Would you lie to a robot? I would! Mark Blumenthal analyzes the diverging (but not all that much) S.C. polls, including the Clemson poll with its huge (36%) undecided result. He's skeptical of a Bradley Effect, noting that if voters lie to polltakers when they say they're going to vote for the black candidate, you 'd expect them to tell the truth to automated polls:
If the Bradley/Wilder effect is operating, we would expect to see it on surveys that use live interviewers, but in this case, the lack of an interviewer seems to work in Obama's favor.
But are we sure this traditional expectation--voters are less likely to lie to robots--still holds? I used to think talking to a robotic phone answerer was pretty close to a "secret ballot"--what was the robot going to do to me, anyway? But machines do a whole lot these days--they track your musical tastes, follow your movements, raise or lower your credit ratings. Now a robot can conceivably do a lot to me, at least in the paranoid part of my imagination activated when I get an unsolicited call. At best, it's probably generating a list to sell someone! I don't want it know my real innermost thoughts, including my political thoughts, especially my un-PC political thoughts. These days, I'd be much more paranoid about pushing a button that say "I'm voting against beloved minority candidate X" than telling a live operator the same thing. Sorry, Rasmussen! The traditional truth-revealing advantage of robo-calling may be the artifact of a transitional era in info-technology.
That means the classic "Bradley Effect"--whites telling pollsters they're going to vote for the black candidate but then doing something else on Election Day--could apply to both human and robotic pollsters. Maybe it applies worse to robo-pollers. So if robo-polls favor Obama more than live polls, that could mean there is no Bradley effect--or it could mean there is one but we just can't rely on robotic polling to smoke it out. ...
See also, Charles Franklin:
I think the more compelling story of South Carolina will be the exit poll results. Obama has appealed to white voters in previous primaries and caucuses. The pre-election polls have found him getting as low as 10% of the white vote in South Carolina. The potential for racial polarization in this Southern state could damage his ability to transcend race as a basis of voting. Paradoxically, there has been speculation that Clinton can win the votes of black women, a result that could reduce polarization in the exit poll.
Of course, people can lie to exit pollsters too! If you're a black South Carolinian and want to help Hillary as much as you can, you'll walk into the booth, vote for her, then walk out and tell the exit poll person you voted for Obama. ... There may also be non-Machiavellian peer pressure in black precincts to tell the exit pollsters the same thing (which, perversely, might hurt Obama in tomorrow night's press spin by making it look as if he received an ethnic bloc vote). In white areas similar pressure might enocourage voters to falsely tell exit pollsters they voted for Edwards or Clinton. ... I'm not sure we should pay so much attention to the exit polls! ... Presumably the real, actual official secret-ballot vote tally will reveal any bloc voting by white areas or black areas, no? ... 12:41 A.M.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Obama's Ghetto Escape-- Continued: I'm posting the following email from reader M, not to endorse it (or to criticize it) but just in case Obama supporters do not realize what their candidate is now up against:
I was liking Obama quite a bit until the militant black establishment came out for him. Here's the thing... your primary identity is either American or hyphenated-American. In other words, you can be American first, or you can be (example) Gay-American, African-American, WASP-American.
If you vote for someone because they share your hyphenated background, why should I believe that that some candidate will respect my needs on an equal basis with yours? If Obama is the candidate of the Black-America establishment, he can't be the American candidate.
I don't like Hillary. I don't like her medical plans and I don't like her past crime and gun plans. But she is an American candidate. Not a Gyno-American. Just a coldly-effecient, and in my view mis-aimed, American candidate.
So bottom line: Yes, backlash has already happened. By being the Black candidate rather than an American candidate, Obama is no longer in the running to be MY candidate.