<!-- Begin meta tags generated by ORblogs --> </meta name="keywords" content="progressive, liberal, politics, government, edit, language, grammar, accuracy, honesty, clarity, world, news, media" /> </> <!-- End meta tags generated by ORblogs -->> Editor at Large: What happened in New Hampshire?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What happened in New Hampshire?


According to nearly all the polls, Obama was supposed to have won New Hampshire in a landslide. How did Hillary pull off the win? Was it a result of her highly publicized "emotional meltdown"? Did she somehow manage to rig the vote? Were the pollsters simply all wrong?

Pollster John Zogby has several possible explanations.

UPDATE: Comedian Will Durst has yet another - very plausible - theory:
It was not a polling glitch.... It was a...form of prejudice detritus known as “the Bradley Effect.”

In 1982, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American, was 10 points ahead in the polls the day before his California Gubernatorial election against George Deukmejian. 10 points ahead. Day before the election. He lost. Sound familiar?

To add insult to injury, Bradley led in the EXIT polls. Which means people not only lied about how they were going to vote, they lied about how they did vote. Proof positive that something crazy happens inside the heads of white people when they get behind that polling curtain.

Why didn’t the “Bradley Effect” rear its ugly head in Iowa? Simple. We’re not talking about racism, we’re talking about nervousness. A fear that attacks your marrow in the dark. In Iowa, everyone watches you vote. No curtain to hide behind in a caucus. You bunch in a corner in full sight of all your neighbors under a bright fluorescent light. In New Hampshire, it’s just you and your demons. Your inner New England
demons. And hope tends to dissipate in those lonely enclosures. No matter how warm the January night, it gets dark at five up there. Northwoods dark, where shadows trump hope.

The difference was women over 40. Which, forgive me, but in both New Hampshire and Iowa means white women. In the Hawkeye State, they went with the black guy in the wide open. In the Granite State, behind the curtain, they chose the white woman. I know. I know. I know. Sacrilege! Implying discrimination exists in America today. Blaspheme! Accusing DEMOCRATS of possible prejudice. Heresy! But its not bigotry so much as it is dread. Suffice to say that in the last six years, we’ve been taught to fear. Bang! Salivate.

One can only hope the Clinton campaign understands this and doesn’t convince themselves it was their wacky emotional leakage weekend strategy that turned the tide, because that would mean 10 months of Bill shrieking and Hillary keening, and nobody wants that. The only thing worse would be to go on pretending this Effect does not exist, because future opponents are already drawing up plans to ramp it up.

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