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Much has been bandied about the so-called Bradley effect, is it real or just a theory espoused a generation ago?
The last presidential debate is now history and most of the polls conducted in its aftermath have Senator Barack Obama ahead of Senator John McCain in states count and the electoral college numbers, yet some are wondering about the Bradley effect. After McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, his vice-president running mate, have castigated Obama spewing a deluge of horrific and hateful rhetoric that have inflamed some of their supporters, Obama has taken the position that presidential politics is a rough sport. However, spontaneous outbursts at Republican rallies seem to be getting rowdier and could result in physical confrontations.
According to the media reports, two of Obama supporters have been attacked while attending a Republican rally in New Hampshire and openly displaying support for Obama. McCain has tended to diffuse the situation though tepidly denouncing those actions, but Palin has continued unabated to stir up crowds with hateful rhetoric and exploiting some of the angry elements of the Republicans’ base support.
The Republicans have tried unsuccessfully to redirect the tone of the campaign away from the economy only to have it resurface time and time again. It is the most potent problem on people’s minds and until it’s fixed or brought under control, it will continue to be front-and-center on the campaign trail. Verbal reassurances from the President are useless given his rating and standing in the polls.
Will the country vote what’s in its best interest with Obama or vote for McCain who is the ideological twin of the president? Despite what McCain said during the debate that he is not President Bush, it is reasonable to think that they are both Republicans and to the extent that they share a common philosophy, McCain will not veer too far off Bush’s path regardless of what he says.
It is important to note that the last debate touched on most of the important issues that face the American people. They discussed healthcare, abortion rights, education, and the economy. Iraq was a side issue because the theme of the debate was domestic policy.
On healthcare, Obama has likened his plan to that of federal employees and has often stated that he would be comfortable if everyone is allowed the opportunity to have the same healthcare plan that he and McCain enjoy as members of the U.S. Senate. That is a bold and daring move on Obama’s part.
On abortion rights, Obama is in favor of Roe v Wade which gives a woman the right to choose, unlike McCain who believes that Roe v Wade is a bad decision. Nevertheless, it is the law and while Obama will support it, McCain will try to overturn it via his appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, should he become president.
On education, Obama soundly berated ‘No child left behind’ because he said it left the money behind. There was no money to implement it and it therefore became a symbol without substance. Obama knows what a good education could and would do to those who have been traditionally left out of the system. (He has said that he is a product of some of the best schools in the country. In addition, Obama understands the trials and tribulations of the ‘common man’ having said that it was only since he wrote two books, he and his wife, Michelle, have been able to pay off their student loans).
On the economy, it is in such dire straits that whomever is inaugurated on January 20, 2009 will have had to start working on the economy as soon as the election results are in, and the winner is declared.
Finally, it seems that the Bradley effect may not rear its ugly head in this election since Obama started his road to the White House by winning in Iowa, one of the ‘whitest’ states in the Union. In addition, to date Obama has out-performed all other presidential candidates in history relative to fundraising, and it is very unlikely that those who have made that possible would not vote for the one to whom they have sent their money. Obama is a safe bet.