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Pollsters detect Stevens Effect in Alaska

diebold-state-seal-of-alaskaObama’s victory has called into doubt the improbable Bradley Effect, but MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed to the re-election so far of Senator Ted Stevens in Alaska, a result which rings off-key with his pre-election eight point deficit in the polls, as suggesting a reverse-type Bradley Effect: voters misrepresenting their inclination to vote for a felon.

So why not name this specter after the honorable senator crook? The Stevens Effect: telling pollsters you will not vote for a candidate who’s a convicted felon, but in the voting booth making sure to kiss his ring.

But before we condemn the Alaska voters, let’s give them a chance to demand an investigation into their election results. Apparently the major contested offices won by Republicans on Tuesday polled very differently than the result. Plus, the Alaskan voter turnout came in much lower than expected. Until these anomalies are clarified, perhaps it’s too early to blame a Stevens Effect on the electorate. Maybe the Stevens Effect will eventually refer to a computer programming term for fixing the election result to please a mob boss.

At 84 years old, probably we’ll be denied the satisfaction that Senator Stevens will live to see his namesake effect calculated into pollster projections of upcoming elections.

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