The Wilder effect, more commonly called the Bradley effect, is a theory proposed to explain observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some elections where a white candidate and a minority candidate candidate run against each other. The theory proposes that some voters tend to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, vote for his white opponent. It was named for Tom Bradley, an African-american who lost the 1982 California governors race despite being ahead in voter polls going into the elections.
The Bradley effect theorizes that the inaccurate polls were skewed by the phenomenon of social desirability bias. Specifically, some white voters give inaccurate polling responses for fear that, by stating their true preference, they will open themselves to criticism of racial motivation. The reluctance to give accurate polling answers has sometimes extended to post-election exit polls as well. The race of the pollster conducting the interview may factor in to voters' answers.
Some analysts have dismissed the theory of the Bradley effect, while others argue that it may have existed in past elections, but not in more recent ones. One analysis of 133 senate and gubernatorial elections between 1989 and 2006 suggests that "before 1996, the median gap for black candidates was 3.1 percentage points, while for subsequent years it was -0.3 percentage points."
- ↑ Kevin Drum, "East Coast Bias Watch", washingtonmonthly.com, July 23, 2008, citing a Google search: "3,820 hits for Wilder Effect compared to 44,900 hits for Bradley Effect"
- ↑ Payne, Gregory(1986). Tom Bradley: The Impossible Dream : A Biography Roundtable Pub. The chapter about Bradley Effect (Chapter 16 / pp. 243 - 288) is available online at http://www.gregorypayne.net/bradleybio.pdf
- ↑ Langer, Gary. (1989, November 8). “Election Poll Problems: Did Some Voters Lie?”, Associated Press
- ↑ Reddy, Patrick. (2002, January 20). "Does McCall Have A Chance?", Buffalo News, p. H1
- ↑ Fighting the Last War - TIME
- ↑ Perez, Simon. (2008, October 9). "Could Bradley Effect Change November Election?" KPIX-TV, "Political Consultant Don Solem explains: 'It's not so much they're afraid to say it as they think it might be taken the wrong way.' Solem said the Bradley Effect is also known as social desirability bias."
- ↑ Rojas, Aurelio. (2008, October 9). "California poll on Proposition 8 could show 'Bradley effect'" Sacramento Bee, "'Anyone who studies survey research will tell you one of the biggest problems we encounter is this notion of social desirability bias,' [Patrick Egan, a professor of politics at New York University] said."
- ↑ (citation?)
- ↑ Daniel J. Hopkins (2008-10-04). "No More Wilder Effect, Never a Whitman Effect: When and Why Polls Mislead about Black and Female Candidates". Department of Government, Harvard University. Retrieved on 2008-10-10.</cite> </li></ol>
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