Battleground Once More

July 22, 2008

Dan Barkin at the Observer has this.  The much talked about “Bradley Effect” will be in play here in NC much more than most people realize.  I know more than a few lifelong democrats that simply will not vote for a black man.  But, they probably wouldn’t tell you that to your face, nor would they alert a pollster.  I would find it incredibly hard to see McCain lose here in NC, simply because old habits die hard.  Although, I think we’ll trend more democratic in the future simply due to the influx of New Yorkers, Jersey devils, and Floridians. 

There’s considerable debate over whether this will happen this November. If it is present in a statistically significant way, then forget everything I have written here, because the polls will not be worth much. If that is the case, then a 1-point Obama lead in Virginia that has the Democrats ecstatic may actually mean he trails in the Old Dominion. Doug Wilder, I recall, had a 9-point lead in some polls going into Election Day over his Republican opponent J. Marshall Coleman, a moderate Mountain-Valley Republican who was not beloved by Richmond and Southside conservatives in the state GOP. Despite the lack of enthusiasm of many Republicans for their nominee, Wilder’s 9-point lead was a mirage and he barely won. Now this election took place nearly 19 years ago, and, presumably, attitudes about race have changed in this country. And no sane Republican strategist would feel confident right now. But if McCain stays close in the tossup states, we’ll see if the “Bradley-Wilder” effect is decisive.

UPDATE: MSNBC adds their take.  Plus this comment from Amy B in Portland, ME “Do they have television in North Carolina? If so, after this Mid-East trip of Obama’s, I say: landslide.”  The DNC must be working on a new southern outreach strategy.


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