Will a Bradley effect – an election phenomenon that occurs when voters tell pollsters they plan to vote for an African-American candidate and instead vote for a white candidate – occur in Ohio on Nov. 6?
This is the question Joe Scarborough posited to Meet the Press moderator David Gregory and NBC News’ Chuck Todd earlier today.
“I’m skeptical there is [an effect, but]…I think it would happen in Western Pennsylvania or Eastern Ohio where there are so many white, working-class voters,” Scarborough said.
Ohio continues to be the state where President Obama and Mitt Romney are aggressively campaigning. The latest Time magazine poll has the president leading Romney in Ohio 49% to 44%.
Scarborough asked Todd and Gregory if they’d heard any talk of the Bradley effect in either the Romney campaign or the Obama campaign.
The name stems from the outcome of the 1982 California governor’s race when Tom Bradley, an African-American, ran against Republican George Deukmejian. Bradley narrowly lost the race despite appearances in the polls that he maintained a sizable lead.
In the 2008 elections, this idea seemed to be part of the discussion. Harvard political scientist Dan Hopkins then concluded the Bradley effect no longer existed.
“If I had a nickel for every time some pundit has opined about Barack Obama and the dreaded ‘Bradley effect,’ I could rescue Wall Street,” he wrote.
Gregory suggested the Bradley effect would no longer be an issue for an incumbent but wondered if Romney’s Mormonism would have an impact on the vote. Since Romney secured the nomination, it seems as if the discussion on Romney’s faith has retreated largely from most discussions.
Chuck Todd echoed Gregory’s thought on the Bradley effect:
“I don’t buy the Bradley Effect on an incumbent anymore,” he said. “I just don’t.”