Were you one of those nervous Nellies who worried that Barack Obama would fall victim to the “Bradley Effect,” i.e., the theory that a black candidate opposing a white candidate experiences a significant drop from pre-vote polling estimates to actual vote count? Now you never have to worry again: Obama actually ended up exceeding most polling projections when it came to the overall popular vote, and he flew past projections in most states. Prior to the election, for instance, Time/CNN had Obama with a slight 51-46 edge over McCain in Nevada; the final tally was 55-43. In Ohio, Time/CNN had Obama over McCain 50-46 going in; he came out 51-47. In Florida (final 51-49) and Minnesota (54-44), there was no Bradley effect — Obama finished right where Time/CNN had him pegged. There were slight dropoffs in North Carolina (51-47 to 50-49) and Virginia (54-44 to 52-47), but both within the margin of error, as they say. The same pattern held true in state after state.
What clearly emerged to replace the Bradley Effect is an entirely new phenomenon I am calling the “Obama Paradigm.” The Obama Paradigm (write this down, political reporters) holds that a black candidate running against a white candidate actually will finish ahead of polling projections when the white candidate:
A. Repeatedly attempts to simultaneously channel all three Peter Sellers characters from “Dr. Strangelove.”B. Spends the last three weeks of the campaign railing about smaller government and less government spending when economically-distraught voters are crying out for bigger government and more government spending.C. Picks a running mate who resembles and talks like Tina Fey.
Again, write this down …..