Keith Reeves '88 Discusses "Bradley Effect" and Effect of Race on Primary Races

Anita Pace

Political Scientist Reeves '88 Discusses 
Effect of Race on Presidential Primaries

by Anita Pace
01/15/2008

Associate Professor of Political Science Keith Reeves '88 discusses the effect of race on the presidential primaries in the Jan. 21 New Yorker.  He pays particular attention to New Hampshire, where Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary after polls predicted a victory for Barack Obama.  

Associate Professor of Political Science Keith Reeves '88 

"The voting booth is tantamount to the confessional - it's the secrecy of the ballot that is the critical issue," Reeves says. "One thing we found that was surprising was when you have instances of a fairly large percentage of undecided white voters, they flee to the white candidate. I've been looking at the polling on Obama, and there was a sizable amount of undecided voters at the end."  more

The director of Swarthmore's Center for Social and Policy Studies, Reeves examines the impact of racial politics on electoral behavior and public policy issues. His analysis of the 2006 elections, which included Deval Patrick's overwhelming victory as governor of Massachusetts, led him to conclude then that "finally, white voters no longer have the appetite for the nasty racial politics historically served up by political campaign operatives. And to that I say: "Run, Barack! Run!""   Reeves is author of Voting Hopes or Fears?: White Voters, Black Candidates, and Racial Politics in America (1997).