Obama and the “Bradley Effect”

By now, most news-savvy Americans are aware of the Bradley Effect and the Bubba Vote, but I’d like to take the analysis one step further to determine how much of the Bradley Effect Obama can handle before he loses the election.

Using data from RealClearPolitics, we can make each state blue or red according to current polling for each state (remember that RCP averages all available polls to produce a single, averaged poll):

If we do nothing, Obama wins with a margin of 196 votes.

If we take all of the blue states in which Obama enjoys less than a 5% lead and we make them red states, Obama wins with a margin of 94 votes.

If we take all of the blue states in which Obama enjoys less than a 6% lead and we make them red states, Obama wins with a margin of 22 votes.

If we take all of the blue states in which Obama enjoys less than a 7% lead and we make them red states, McCain wins with a margin of only 4 votes.

So, based on current polling numbers, Obama could take a 6% dive in every state, and he’d still win the election.

These numbers assume a lot of things (that everyone polled will vote, that all states suffer equally from the Bradley Effect, etc.), but I think this goes a long way to demonstrating the statistical tolerance that Obama can have before it costs him the election.

To see the data arranged in tables, click here: josh-anderson-polling-data


7 responses to “Obama and the “Bradley Effect”

  1. Yes, its racist America. It has nothing to do with Obama being so liberal and his past associations.

    You democrats are so predictable.

    Whites will not be voting 95% for McCain. Blacks will be voting 95% for Obama. And, of course, when you look at this and you read the whole thing, the only reason this could possibly be a close election is race. Obama is not flawed, his radicalism is not flawed, his campaign’s not flawed. No, no, no, no. His own racism and comments in San Francisco of course are ignored. His racist appeals to Hispanics, those are ignored. His sexist approach to Hillary and Palin. But if he loses, it’s only because we’re such a racist country, and we’re going to have to reexamine who we are and what we are.

  2. Okay, but I’ll try and put a gentler comment this time.

    Doesn’t it really make you nervous, or it should, that we all know the nation is not as in the tank for Obama as the polls reflect? We all know that.

    You are fooling yourself if you believe over 10% of the nation is for Obama, even if more than 5% were that would be amazing.

    So that means this is as high as Obama is ever, ever going to get. And he never closed the deal. And look at his past polling numbers he’s continued to pull away and then been brought back down to earth. If I were a Democrat I’d be worried that Obama was peaking too soon. because McCain can’t get much worse, its not possible. Its just not. But Obama can. He can get far worse. and if he starts to make a 5 point slide, the media and liberals are going to blow up and things will be really ugly by Nov. 4th

  3. Some believe Obama lost New Hampshire through the “Bradley effect”. All major polling right before the primary had Obama anywhere between +5% to +13%. Clinton won by 3%. This shows a net gain of at least 8% for Clinton. Many previous examples of the “Bradley effect” shows a net difference of 8-10% between polls and actual results. McCain is within this percentage in almost all the battleground states as you correctly pointed out. This, I believe why McCain is battling hard in Pennsylvania and making an appearance recently in Iowa. This is not over by a longshot. It should be interesting to see how this plays out. I included a link to an article which speaks to this and other previous examples.


  4. BEWARE of the BRADLEY EFFECT – you’d discount and discredit polls and exit polls too if you’re trying to steal an election.

    Electronic voting systems can be easily hacked – here’s a link to exploitable security vulnerabilities in electronic voting systems:


    or Google Ohio State Project Everest.

    HappinessHacker.com – Atlanta

  5. Help, don’t help! Jessie Jackson may have just turned Florida back to a Republican win. I wonder what Nader has up his sleeve to further muddy the water.


  6. Thanks Jessie Jackson. You may well have turned Florida from a leaning blue back to a leaning red, all with a single open mouth, insert foot comment. Hopefully no one listens to this egomaniac blowhard.

    Fortunately it quickly diappeared off Drudge but will undoubtedly become the content of emails to the Jewish vote of Miami/Dade and other counties.

  7. I have thought through Josh’s question about the effects of the Bradley effect. I had a discussion in the barbershop today and came away feeling that the Bradley effect could account for as much as 5% in most all States. I have lived in PA and the racial hatred was worse there than in many southern States. My prediction is a close or possible McCain win in the popular vote with Obama winning the electoral college. What a hoot and turnabout that would be!

    Sorry about my duplicate post. The first did not come through for more than 24 hours so I submitted again.

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