Part 1 - Whitewashing Anti-Feminism in the Housing Crisis
Part 2 - Reverse Bradley Effect Caused by Ignoring Women
Privilege of Women's Invisibility (Part 2):
Reverse Bradley Effect Caused by Ignoring Women
"I just haven't seen good evidence that [race] is a factor in polling these days."
~Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center
“The level of inaccuracy of the polls in the primaries was unprecedented.”
~Anthony Greenwald, psychologist and (overcited) co-inventor of the Reverse-Bradley Effect
“This distortion is interesting because poll numbers are part of the story journalists tell the public”
~ Bethany Albertson, political scientist and (overlooked) co-inventor of the Reverse-Bradley Effect
As Barak Obama continues to lead the polls, pundits and pollsters have latched onto the Bradley Effect. The Bradley Effect is the idea that voters will tell pollsters they are leaning towards the African-American candidate, only to flee to the white guy on election day. It named after the African-American gubernatorial candidate Tom Bradley, who enjoyed a huge lead in the polls during the 1982 governor's election in California, only to loose on election night to the obligatory white dude, George Deukmejian .
While most pollsters accept the Bradley Effect, and attribute it to voters disavowing their traditional American racism , others bitterly oppose the idea that Americans are racist at all. Their opposition is usually accompanied by extensive hand-wringing while slowly rocking back and forth and chanting, "A lot has changed since then!"
Fortunately, for the bigotry-phobic pundits, social psychologist Anthony Greenwald and political scientist Bethany Albertson have come up with a new strategy for avoiding blame: the Reverse Bradley Effect.
What is the "Reverse-Bradley Effect", you ask? It is a clever construct that racist white pundits love! It combines the biases of pollsters with the Privilege of Women's Invisibility, and uses the results to argue that racism actually benefits African-Americans!
So minority groups have it easy? Where have I heard that line before?
How in the hell did they come up with this bullshit, you ask? Well, during the historic Democratic primaries Obama outperformed the polls in 13 states. Since an African-American outperformed the polls in this one election, the Bradley Effect must have been reversed nationwide!
This irrefutably proves that a lot has changed since then, Q.E.D.
But wait a minute! There was another unusual fact about this year's Democratic primaries that most people are overlooking:
There were actually TWO minority candidates in the primaries!!!
Remember that woman who was frequently standing on stage across from Barak Obama? The one that wasn't Michelle? I recently wrote a piece about her candidacy. That's right, Hillary Rodham Clinton also ran for president this year! While the dudes were paying a lot of attention to Hillary's gender earlier this year, they conveniently overlooked gender when the time came to dismiss racism .
So what would they have seen if they weren't so busy marginalizing people? Well, it's actually a little hard to tell, since no one ever investigated the role that sexism might have played in the Democratic primaries. Whenever sexism is brought up by, oh say, the creators of the "Reverse-Bradley effect", the media made it a point to look the other way:
"The researchers attributed the inaccuracy of the polls to social influences. For instance, Greenwald said many women told pollsters they were voting for Hillary Clinton but ultimately cast their ballots for Obama."Did Fox ever ask why people were not pulling the lever for Clinton? Hell, no! The media simply uses the Privilege of Women's Invisibility to write off ambitious women like Hillary Clinton without a second thought, as if the evaporation of female competition is a natural by-product of the cosmos.
~Fox News (10/17/2008)
Patriarchal constants of the universe aside, what role did sexism play in the Democratic primaries? Well, I managed to find some interesting dots that the media left unconnected.
When it came to the purported "Reverse-Bradley Effect", thirteen states were cited as evidence for the effect: Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Now, can we connect these states in any way that would explain why Clinton would underperform in these states, without resorting to un-racism? Are there any signs that voters in these states might be prejudiced against having a woman as president?
Let's first check to see if a woman has ever been elected to a major office in these states? After all, states who have seen a woman perform well in a high office are more likely to approve of one for the oval office. Conversely, states that have never elected women to high office may have sexist attitudes that inhibit the election of women.
Well what do you know? Eleven of the thirteen states have never had a female governor! Of the two states that had female governors, Judy Martz of Montana had an approval rating as low as 20%! Over half of these states have never had a female senator.
And while there are only six states in the US that have never elected a woman to the House, half of them are on this list! 
Let's look at another proxy for progressive attitudes towards women: contraceptive equity. If a state espouses the idea that a woman cannot orgasm without becoming a mother every time, chances are they'll oppose trailblazing women like Clinton who find themselves far from the domestic sphere. Conversely, a state that mandates access to women's contraception alongside men's Viagra may have an electorate that can actually comprehend women's equality .
So how do the "Reverse-Bradley" states stack up? Of the thirteen states, nine do not have statutes for contraceptive coverage, and only one (Georgia) has a statute that mandates contraceptive coverage without "religious" exceptions. 
I'm sure there is plenty of other compelling intersections of sexism and racism in this year's election, but we won't see them because the media is making it a point to keep them invisible. The pollsters won't find them either unless they manage to trip over several hundred black women on their way to CNN headquarters with their latest post-gender, post-race analysis.
The truth is that many political polls do not use pure random sampling. Instead, they "target" polls at particular demographic groups (young people under 30, white male heads of household, etc.) and weight those groups based on their assumed proportion of the total voting population. In other words, if young women are believed to be 10% of the vote in a state, then they will only ever effect 10% of the polling result, no matter how many of them actually go out to the polls.  The polls will only be right when the current definition du jour of "likely voters" is correct. If the consensus on the "likely voter" definition is wrong (which it obviously was during the primary battle between Clinton and Obama) then the polls will be off no matter what. So the "Reverse-Bradley effect" is really a reverse mia culpa: the people were wrong, not the assumptions of pollsters.
Worse, I suspect that another ugly truth is lurking behind the pollster's demographic groups: that pollsters do not regularly record the opinions of female voters.
I have asked some of my voting-age, swing-state, landline-owning female friends if they have ever been polled for an election. It turns out that none of them have ever been asked about their voting habits, ever! Don't get me wrong, several of their homes have been polled numerous times, but when a pollster calls, they typically say, "Can I speak to the man of the house, please?" If one of my friends say that her father is not available, but that they can talk to her mother or herself, they hang up! The pollsters know their father's political parties, stances on issues, even religious denominations, but they know nothing about the voting habits of the other household members who are female and who vote.
Then again, this is purely an anecdotal speculation. It would be nice if someone would conduct a poll on the matter, but I'm not holding my breath. The "Reverse-Bradley effect" already shows just how far reporters and pollsters will go to ignore anything that involves women.
"Reverse-Bradley Effect"? Give me a break!
Now that the election is over and Barak Obama has officially won, let's look back and see if there was any "Reverse-Bradley Effect" to speak of. Let's use the exit polls as a benchmark, since they have the luxury of counting actual voters as they leave the voting booth. We won't have to deal with biased speculations as to which demographics will go out and vote, we can just count them! And since Americans are raised from birth to separate one human being from another using the constructs of gender, race, age, etc., I'm confident that exit pollsters will be able to accurately record the "basic demographic information" of the people they were talking to.
Checking the Gallup Polls for November 2nd, Obama led McCain 53% to 40% in registered voters, and 53% to 42% among their estimates of likely voters. Looking at the National Exit Polls, Obama led McCain 53% to 46%, with whites breaking for McCain, and everyone else breaking solidly for Obama. (I'd also like to point out that women across all racial and ethnic lines voted for Obama more often than the men.)
The exit polls unfortunately show that racism is alive and well in this country, and that (shock!) Obama did not get an election day boost from racism. The only discrepancy in poll numbers was the 4% of McCain voters that were not recorded by the election season pollsters.
I wonder what Dr. Greenwald would say about that? As of December 2008, there is no new comments on his website.
 These days, the election-night-surprise "Bradley Effect" is more commonly known as the "Diebold Effect".
 Although some are less shy about it than others [NSFW], and that was the "liberals"! With allies like that, who needs Axis?
 Despite the Democratic primaries being a historic first for women, NPR never uses the words "woman", "female", or even "her" when examining the Reverse-Bradley effect that supposedly existed during the primaries.
 Source: Dr. Greenwald's own homepage at the University of Washington.
 And Hillary Clinton didn't carry any of the six states that had never elected a woman to the house of representatives.
 To quote the government's own Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
"To ignore the health benefits of contraception is to say that the alternative of 12 to 15 pregnancies during a woman's lifetime is medically acceptable."That cruel acceptance IS the gross inequality of the status-quo. While no pharmacist would ever oppose dispensing Viagra for religious reasons (god apparently condones all actions that involve a man's erection), STEALING contraception prescriptions away from RAPE SURVIVORS is a legally-protected right of "conscience" for religious godbags in nearly every state!
 The thinly-veiled misogyny of "religious exceptions" is readily apparent in the North Carolina contraception bill, "Nothing in this subsection authorizes a health benefit plan to exclude coverage for prescription drugs ordered by a health care provider with prescriptive authority for reasons other than contraceptive purposes," Don't worry dudes, YOUR health care is safe from the arbitrary biases of religious authoritarians!
 You can see how the Privilege of Unquestioned Majority (#15) could cause a big problem here.
Copyright June 2008 by F*ck M*sculinity