Did the Racist Vote Decide the Election?
Posted on: 2008-11-05 15:29:21
Let's just do the numbers
by Filip van Laenen
For months, the media has been been whining about the Bradley effect that could have spoiled Barack Obama's victory in yesterday's presidential elections. Basically, the Bradley effect says that when there are two candidates, one white and one black, a significant number of whites intends to vote for the black candidate and says so too when asked by a pollster, but nevertheless, once in the voting booth they vote for the white candidate. Racism! But where's the outcry about 95% of African-Americans voting for Barack Obama, clearly a racist vote?
Let's just do the numbers. If we say that people not influenced by the candidate's race tend to vote 50/50 for Barack Obama and John McCain, then for every five African-American votes for Barack Obama, there should be five African-American votes for John McCain, and the rest is influenced by race. Thus 90% of all African-Americans casted a racist vote yesterday. Considering that the African-Americans represent about 13.4% of the United States' population, assume 10% of the votes are African-American, then 90% of those 10% make up 9% of the total number of votes. If these voters hadn't been influenced by race, they would break 4.5% to Barack Obama and 4.5% to John McCain. Correct the popular vote for these numbers, at the time of this writing 52% for Barack Obama and 46% for John McCain, and the popular vote becomces only 47.5% for Barack Obama and 50.5% for John McCain, clearly suggesting John McCain would have won the election in number of electoral voters too.
Of course, I expect to see a huge outcry over this in the media the coming days, with lots of analyses about how racist some parts of the United States' electorate have become, maybe even some demonstrations and many strong condemnations from all anti-racist organizations all over the world. Don't you?
Of course, African-Americans traditionally vote Democratic. In 2004, John Kerry received 85% of the black votes, but in 2000 Al Gore received 90%, who received more than Bill Clinton in 1996 and 1992. If we take 90% as the baseline, 5 votes for John McCain imply 45 votes for Barack Obama, still leaving 50% of the African-American votes to be influenced by the candidate's race, or 5.0% of the total number of votes. Corrected for this number, and breaking this number into 90% and 10%, the popular vote becomes 51.5% for Barack Obama and 46.5% for John McCain.
These calculations do not account for another effect that might have played a role: black voters who otherwise wouldn't have bothered registering to vote this year primarily because of Barack Obama's race. A jump in the participation by the African-Americans in these elections compared to previous elections would indicate this.