• News
  • Celebrities
  • Finance
  • Crypto
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • Others

The Stevens Effect


Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) (WDCpix)

Move over “Bradley effect,” this was the year of a different polling phenomenon — the “Stevens effect.”

Down in the polls last week by 22 points, Alaska’s Sen. Ted Stevens now leads by 3,500 votes with 40,000 absentee ballots still to be counted.

In the final days of the Senate campaign, many voters swung away from Stevens when news broke that he had been convicted of seven counts of corruption-related felonies on Monday in Washington.

Image has not been found. URL: http://www.washingtonindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/politics.jpgIllustration by: Matt Mahurin

The federal indictment had already taken its toll on Stevens. He had been hugely popular in Alaska and won each of his seven terms handily. But, he was in a dead heat in early October, and then dropped 8 points in the polls last Tuesday, the day after his conviction. By Thursday, Stevens was 22 points behind his competitor Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

But despite surveys showing Alaskans were going to abandon the 84-year-old senator, in the privacy of the ballot box many stood by him. Stevens, the longest serving Republican senator of all time, is credited with using his seniority in Washington to bring home billions in federal dollars, which support 40 percent of all jobs in the state he has said.

Stevens is also rightly credited with ushering the state into the modern era. Federal dollars built the state’s roads and highways, for residents do not pay state income or property taxes. Voters said they wouldn’t vote for a felon, but on Election Day constituents remembered the Stevens of the last 40 years.

A number of factors help explain the discrepancies between what was predicted and what happened, including the theory that many voters would simply not admit to pollsters they planned to vote for a candidate just convicted of a crime.

“It actually makes sense to me,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a Princeton history professor who has focused on congressional history, referring to voters saying they wouldn’t vote for Stevens. “It’s embarrassing to make that admission.”

The idea is similar to the much-discussed, though debunked, theory of the Bradley effect — named for former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley who lost a bid for California governor in 1982, though exit polls had showed him winning. Political analysts speculated this year that some white voters might like to tell a pollster they support a black candidate, but not do so in the end.

Zelizer said it’s not surprising to see constituents stand by incumbents, who, like Stevens are seen as responsive overall.

“People can separate [scandal] from what a representative delivers,” Zelizer said. “I think that kind of shift in the electorate can be explained in pure interest.”

Voters in Alaska know that Stevens have brought home billions in federal dollars. Stevens said in a debate Thursday night that 40 percent of jobs in Alaska are funded, at least in part, by federal money.

“Virtually everyone in the state is directly or indirectly beholden to Sen. Stevens in terms of the federal dollars,” said Steven Haycox, a history professor at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. “When people get into the voting booth they remember these guys have delivered for Alaska.”

Haycox said that job-security is always a voter issue in Alaska because the state’s economy is so narrow.

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the state’s lone congressman, confronted a similar situation. He was expected to lose to his competitor, Ethan Berkowitz, by a solid margin just last week.

Young’s problems started about a year ago when it was revealed he is under federal investigation for ties to the same company that caused Stevens’ legal troubles. Young has spent over $1 million dollars on legal expenses in the last year, though he has not been indicted.

Despite being down in the polls by about 9 points in the run-up to the election for his 19th term in office, Young won Tuesday night by an 8-point margin.

“Pollsters can be pollsters and sit in their little offices,” Young said, “but I never really believe what they say until the day after the election. That’s really, the main, only poll that’s necessary.”

But whether voters consciously chose to mislead pollsters is up for debate.

“You’d be talking about tens of thousands of people out there saying one thing and then doing something else,” said prominent Anchorage pollster Ivan Moore.

Moore said that the difference between polls and results, though, was not the result of a last-minute ad blitz winning over support.

“Opinion does not change that much that quickly,” Moore said. “Clearly, weird shit was going on.”

Moore said he thinks that the pollsters, himself included, got the numbers wrong because they sampled the wrong people.

He speculates that Gov. Sarah Palin’s presence on the ticket brought out her base of support, so more Republicans voted than usual. Those numbers may not be known for several months.

“I’m just encouraged,” Moore said, “ that not only did I get it wrong, but everybody got it wrong.”

Discussion & Comments (0)

    Recent Articles

    • Things You Should Know about North America

      Things You Should Know about North America

      Get to know more about North America.

    • Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Paula Seling's experience on the Eurovision stage led her to declare that "Eurovision is an unpredictable contest". Which may explain the success of the young Lena from Germany, about whom the predictions before the event did not offer much chances for victory.

    • VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      Have you ever contemplated creating a user-friendly site dedicated to sports-related free live streaming channels?

    • Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia users are able to watch thousands of videos and other contents online. XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia New is a piece of software that enables people to watch videos online without having to pay for memberships. On a graphics card, the XNXubd also provides some of the best gaming and virtual reality experiences.

    • Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      A new edition of the Video Editor Apk for xVideostudio.Video Studio has all the latest features, including support for multiple video download formats in HD, FHD, and even 4K resolutions.

    • 9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      Masturbation is a common activity for men and women. It's a natural and risk-free way to explore your body, experience pleasure, and release sexual tension.

    • Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Without having to sign up or pay anything, you can watch movies online for free with SFlix. It has more than 10,000 movies and television shows.

    • Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Collins (born May 11, 1997) is a rapper from the United States. Leray started publishing songs to SoundCloud in 2014, and in 2018 she released her breakthrough track "Huddy" as well as her first mixtape, Everythingcoz.

    • Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Are you in a bind and looking for a place to obtain free mp3 songs? Never again will you need to bother, since this article has everything necessary to obtain your solution. Download free music from MyfreeMP3.com, one of the world's most popular websites.