Barack Obama and the Bradley Factor

After a cruel and unusually difficult American National Government exam this morning (after watching a presentation on child labor…more on that later), I had to take advantage of an extra credit opportunity for this class: a lecture about the 2008 election with Kirk Jowers.  Mr. Jowers is the Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.  But more importantly for this discussion, he has advised more than 30 Republican congressional candidates and provided legal counsel to George W.’s 2000 presidential campaign on Electoral College issues.  He has worked exclusively in campaign finance, election law and government ethics arena and is the author of several books.

He began the lecture by saying he had a fun job today–to talk about the most exciting election in U.S. history.  And he cut right to the chase and concluded that there is nothing McCain can do to change his trajectory and that unless something totally beyond our imagination occurs, Obama will be our 44th president.

Mr. Jowers continued to discuss the battleground states and how they have shifted in the past month as McCain became more defensive and Obama took the offense.

“As the bottom dropped out of the stock market and as Palin went from ‘who’ to ‘wow’ to ‘woah…’ McCain started to tank along with the economy,” said Jowers enthusiastically, as students audibly laughed.  Obama now has a 17 point lead.

During the Q&A period at the end, I had to ask Mr. Jowers about how much he thought we would see the Bradley effect in this election, among both citizens who have already voted and among those who are still yet to vote.  The Bradley effect is the latent racism still apparent in our country and in politics in general, when voters will say that they will vote for the black candidate when polled because they don’t want to sound racist, but then they change their vote in the secrecy of the booth.  Mr. Jowers thinks that we are evolving and that the Bradley effect might be present in the southern states, but he doubts it will be enough to make a difference in the election.  So that’s good news!

Now, hopefully, it will begin to snow this weekend so we can go from this:


photo by Michael Kemp

To this:

Caroline-08-071 crpd 72dpi

photo by Lee Cohen

I had to include some eye candy to reward you for reading until the end of my post.