Washington, Oct 18 : A study finds that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama outperformed voter preference polls in 12 states during the primaries and could do the same on Election Day, countering the "Bradley Effect," which suggests that Black candidates do better in the polls than they do in actual elections
For months some political analysts have been warning -- and some Obama supporters have been fearing -- that the first Black presidential nominee of a major party could fall victim to the "Bradley Effect" on Election Day, FOX News reported.
The political phenomenon -- named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, a Black Democrat who lost a close California Governor's race in 1982, even though he was well ahead in the polls -- has demonstrated that Black candidates perform better in opinion polls than they do in actual elections, because White voters are hesitant to tell pollsters they won't vote for the black candidate.
Other Black politicians who are said to have fallen victim to the Bradley Effect were former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, former New York Mayor David Dinkins and former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder, all of whom led in the polls by wide margins and ended up winning very close elections.
Some analysts argue that Obama needs at least a 5-point lead over McCain in the polls to overcome the Bradley Effect.
But a study released this month suggests Obama, who is leading John McCain in national and battleground state polls, could benefit from a "reverse Bradley Effect" and outperform opinion polls in several states
The study by two University of Washington researchers says the polls may, in fact, be underestimating Obama's support by 3-4 percent nationally.
Psychologist Anthony Greenwald and political scientist Bethany Albertson used data from 32 Democratic primaries this year. They found evidence of the Bradley Effect in three states -- California, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
But they also found its countereffect in 12 states, including the crucial battleground states of Indiana, Virginia, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Missouri.
Reinforcing the notion of a "reverse Bradley Effect" is a Gallup poll this month that found that six percent of voters say they are less likely to vote for Obama because of his race, but nine percent say they are more likely to vote for him, making Obama's race slightly advantageous for him.
In the 12 battleground states the researchers reviewed, Obama's support exceeded pre-election polls by seven percent or more.