A new explanation for Hillary’s Iowa loss & New Hampshire win
[NOTE: Most often I post other people’s articles, but here’s an editorial of my own.]
We’ve all heard the chatter that has erupted regarding why polling failed to accurately predict Hillary Clinton’s win last week in New Hampshire. We all know it had something to do with women – lots of them – turning out in support of her.
Simultaneously though, many leading political analysts, including, respectably, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, have cross-examined the possibility that it was less a Hillary win and more of an Obama loss thanks to the so-called “Bradley Effect” – the term used for the theoretical phenomenon where some voters will publicly tell pollsters that they’ll vote for a black candidate but actually won’t do so once they are ensconced in the privacy of the voting booth. Ultimately, most analysts have concluded that the “Bradley Effect” was, probably, not in play last week. End of story.
Is it though? What no one is considering, Lizza included, is that a related phenomenon – shall we dub it the “Hillary Effect”? – may be in play, wherein some voters may not be willing to publicly say to pollsters that they’ll vote for Hillary, but once in the privacy of the voting booth, they actually will vote for her. It’s a gender-based version of the “Bradley Effect” – reversed.
This explains both her Iowa loss and her New Hampshire win, where Iowa’s caucuses are almost embarrassingly public carnivals compared to New Hampshire’s quiet and tidy private primary voting booths.
It is not unthinkable that this new phenomenon – the “Hillary Effect” – may be introduced in this election season. Why? The complexities of gender combined with a vocal and public hatred that borders on the irrational. The press regularly informs us that Hillary has high negative ratings. We all know she’s a lightening rod for impassioned hatred (though some, including me, are not exactly sure why). The knowledge that so many voters supposedly dislike her may make some of us less willing to admit publicly that we will vote for her. Many Republican women (and Republican men, for that matter – heck, even regular Democrats) may be supporting her in secret, afraid to reveal their feelings. In other words, if they do support her, they don’t support her enough to speak up about it for fear of having to cross swords with those supposed loudmouths proclaiming so publicly that they really really hate her. Faced with voices screaming a chorus of Hillary hatred, her supporters may just keep their support secretly to themselves.
Perhaps, come November, should Hillary be the Democratic Party’s nominee, the first woman to be President of the United States will win in a historic landslide that the pollsters could not possibly have predicted.
— — — —
[NOTE: You can read my editorial about Kerry’s 2004 loss that was printed in the Boston Sunday Globe on November 14, 2004.]