In 1982 Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley seemed certain to become the first black governor of California. Pre-election polling gave Bradley a double digit lead over his white opponent, George Deukmejian. Bradley lost.
Several high profile races since 1982 in which a black candidate has run against a white opponent have followed the same pattern. This phenomenon has been dubbed the Bradley Effect, and the possibility of it being a factor in the polling of likely voters in the current presidential race has pollsters frantically trying to come up with a way to negate it.
It has already reared its ugly head in the primary race between Obama and Clinton. Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary despite exit polls indicating a sizable lead for Barrack Obama. Currently, the polls show Obama leading McCain by 5.2. If there is a possibility that the Bradley Effect is a factor in the polls, a 5.2 lead is no lead at all.
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