- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
U.S. political junkes are well aware of the "Bradley effect," a scenario in which embarassed white voters tell pollsters they’re planning on voting for a minority candidate, then vote for a white one when they get in the booth, producing misleading results.
The Bradley effect turned out to be a non-factor in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, but Le Monde suggests [French] it may have appeared in a somewhat mutated form in France’s regional elections this week, where Jean-Marie Le Pen’s anti-immigrant National Front performed much better than pollsters expected, taking third place with 11.7 of the vote and likely contributing to an embarassing first-round defeat for Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling conservatives. French pollsters now suggest that a portion of the FN’s electorate may have been embarassed to admit to supporting Le Pen’s radical views.
Logically, a Bradley effect would only be an issue in countries where racial prejudice is widespread enough in influence the result of an election, but taboo enough that citizens are embarassed to admit to it, even in an anonymous poll. It would be interesting to find out how many countries this applies to.
Do readers know of any other countries which have had Bradley-type election results?
(Hat tip: The Monkey Cage)