Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Notes on Racial Bias in Polling and Voting

From CNN:
A small percentage of voters -- 2.5 percent of those surveyed -- said they may turn away from Obama because of his race.
The article claims that Obama will lose 6 percent due to his race, but I find no mention of whether or not they asked if anyone was voting for him because of his race.

The concern I think this article is implicitly trying to get at is what is more popularly known as the Bradley Effect or the Wilder Effect, which is the observation that sometimes black candidates do systematically worse in actual elections than they do in the polls leading up. My understanding is that the academic literature has not found this to be the case (or has disappeared), and that it is more likely a flaw in poll methodology.

For those who are more interested in that subject, I suggest they turn to this EconTalk interview with polling expert Doug Rivers and tune in a little after the 40 minute mark.

P.S. A while back the DOL was throwing out predictions for the outcome of the election. I'm betting a Democratic sweep, as both Congress and the White House go to the challengers. Note that I prefer a split, and I don't care which party gets which branch.


Anonymous said...

I think Obama hit was on point with his respond. There will be people who will not vote for him because he is black but there are folks out there that will vote merely on the color of his skin. The same can be said about those who aren't voting for McCain because of his age... Come on we've all heard that he's too "old" but seriously, How many voters are voting on the issues? I think more and more that I hear is more negative ads about the other person which I think is very low. I don't care how many houses McCain owns or why Celeb's are fine Obama appealing. I want to know what each one stands for and that's it. How will the enforce immigration policy, improve foreign relations, provide for military families, sign for laws that have substance but not filled with "pork" and how will they lower taxes for the middle class and depending on where you live $250K is not rich! However, both McCain and Obama will not "Change" anything. The Democrates have been the majority in both house and Senate and where was that change?Where are all the bills that were going to get passed? The American people were tired of the Republicans controlling everything and look where we're at today? Thank you all for voting for the party and not what's best for the people!I've voted since I was 18 and this is the first year I'm cleary unsure who to vote for....

Anonymous said...

A CNN poll says that 40% of white people have a problem with black people. This could only mean one thing... the other 60% are lying about it.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting over nine months for someone to challenge the media on why they never ask if people are voting for Obama because of his race, so thanks! I would be willing to bet that it is a far, far higher number than those who would vote against him on that account.

For the record, anyone who thinks race is a valid reason to vote for or against a candidate has serious problems.