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Q&A: The presidential race and the 'Bradley effect'

Race and the 'Bradley effect'

I've seen references to something called the "Bradley effect" when discussing the presidential race. Can you explain?

The "Bradley effect" is the name thrown around politics to explain the discrepancies between polling numbers and actual votes in a race where one of the candidates is nonwhite.

It's named after Tom Bradley, a former Los Angeles mayor who ran for governor of California in 1982. Polls right up to election day indicated Bradley, an African-American running against a white man, George Deukmejian, had a lead. But when the votes were counted, Deukmejian won by a narrow margin.

A month before the election, Deukmejian's campaign manager had predicted his candidate would get about 5 percent more votes than the polls were showing because some whites didn't want to admit they would vote against Bradley simply because he was black.

The "effect" is considered by some an explanation of why Barack Obama lost to Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire Democratic primary by 3 points even though pre-election polls had him ahead by up to 13 points.

Some experts attribute the "effect" to bad polling, while others think it could be a factor in several swing states where Obama is polling slightly ahead of Republican John McCain.

McCain's first wife

You never hear about John McCain's first wife. Whatever happened to her?

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Carol Shepp McCain were married for about 15 years before divorcing in 1980. They had one child, a daughter named Sidney. McCain adopted his wife's sons, Doug and Andy, from a previous marriage.

A recent Washington Post article said she is 70, retired and living in Virginia Beach, Va. She never remarried and has declined many interview requests over the years. According to a close friend of hers, she has a "McCain for President" bumper sticker on her car.

ACORN has been making news

Please explain the organization ACORN.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is an umbrella group for dozens of nonprofits serving low- and moderate-income families in at least 110 cities and 40 states. Its concerns include voter registration, the minimum wage, predatory financial practices and affordable housing. ACORN has endorsed Democrat Barack Obama, once one of its lawyers, for president.

The group has been in the news lately due to allegations of voter fraud. John McCain criticized it for allegedly issuing risky home loans, "the same types of loans that caused the financial crisis we're in today." ACORN's response: "If John McCain thinks that community organizers caused the foreclosure crisis, he knows even less about the economy than previously thought."

Q&A: The presidential race and the 'Bradley effect' 10/30/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 5:50pm]
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