The Water Cooler: Observations from Election Day

A noted political analyst told me earlier this week, “whatever Obama’s polling numbers are, subtract five points.” Why? It’s what political insiders call the “Bradley effect” – it means when people are polled they often-times give “socially desirable answers” – think of it as political correctness in polling done not by the pollster, but the pollee. That’s where people called by pollsters tell them what they think is the socially and politically correct thing to say, not what they really believe. This type of behavior is especially common in polling when the questions and answers involve touchy subjects like sexual preference, income, and race – thus the Obama minus five factor.

Yard signs. Polling problems explained. Obama voters switch to McCain. And more!

By Chris Ingram

• I drove my daughter to school this morning and the highway was covered with McCain/Palin signs and a handful of “Change” signs (whatever that means) as well. Yard signs placed on public right-of-ways don’t particularly mean anything as the road is not “endorsing” the candidate the way it is implied a homeowner does when he or she places a sign in their yard. But, it does give a bit of energy and hope when you see your candidate’s signs out. Here I thought there was no enthusiasm for McCain, but at least here in Tampa, someone was enthused enough to be out late last night placing illegal sings for McCain on the highway.

• A friend of mine from South Georgia told me three people he knew to be “die hard” Obama supporters two weeks ago told him today they voted for McCain. One of them, an ideological woman of just 22 years old who previously had Obama stickers on her car peeled them off and voted for McCain because, as she told my friend, “The more I learned about his policies, the less I liked him.” The other two former supporters are relatives of my friend who said they had “heated exchanges just a few weeks ago.” But alas, when the time came to vote, they changed their minds and voted McCain. These observations however unscientific support the notion that late-deciders will go to McCain. It also suggests McCain’s late message shift raising doubts about Obama’s experience and qualifications were effective.

• A noted political analyst told me earlier this week, “whatever Obama’s polling numbers are, subtract five points.” Why? It’s what political insiders call the “Bradley effect” – it means when people are polled they often-times give “socially desirable answers” – think of it as political correctness in polling done not by the pollster, but the pollee. That’s where people called by pollsters tell them what they think is the socially and politically correct thing to say, not what they really believe. This type of behavior is especially common in polling when the questions and answers involve touchy subjects like sexual preference, income, and race – thus the Obama minus five factor.

• Anecdotal evidence suggests larger than normal turnout of white males at polling locations in Florida. Speculation among experts is the NRA and other gun rights groups have motivated their people to get out and vote for McCain. Similar anecdotal evidence suggests young people are not turning out in droves as expected – at least in Florida.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of http://www.IrreverentView.com. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at: Chris@411Communications.net.

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