Racial factor may emerge if election close

Oct. 7, 2008 at 8:30 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Racial backlash against Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Barack Obama could make a difference if the election is close in November, analysts say.

Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois and the first black man to be nominated by a major party for president, could find latent racism emerging in the privacy of the voting booth should Election Day find he and Republican opponent Sen. John McCain of Arizona locked in a dead heat, the Washington publication Politico reported Tuesday.

Voters sometimes lie to pollsters about their racial animosities. They call it the "Bradley Effect," named after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, a black candidate who lost the 1989 California gubernatorial election even though polls indicated that he was leading.

"I have a concern that going into Election Day, in a dead heat, there could be some drop-off in support of Obama, of 1 or 2 points, because some voters are conflicted about race in this election," Democratic strategist Joe Trippi told Politco.

But with many polls indicating Obama pulling ahead of McCain on the strength of the financial crisis, analysts told Politico the election might not be close enough for race to matter.

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