Do Polls Lie About Race?





THREE weeks to Election Day and polls project a victory, possibly a big one, for Barack Obama.

Yet everywhere, anxious Democrats wring their hands. They’ve seen this Lucy-and-the-football routine before, and they’re just waiting for their ball to be snatched away, the foiled Charlie Browns again. Remember how the exit polls in 2004 predicted President Kerry?

The anxiety is more acute this year, because Senator Obama is the first African-American major-party presidential nominee. And even pollsters say they can’t be sure how accurately polls capture people’s feelings about race, or how forthcoming Americans are in talking about a black candidate.

In recent days, nervous Obama supporters have traded worry about a survey — widely disputed by pollsters yet voraciously consumed by the politically obsessed — that concluded racial bias would cost Mr. Obama six percentage points in the final outcome. He is, of course, about six points ahead in current polls. See? He’s going to lose.



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