The Bradley Effect

Have you heard of The Bradley Effect? I heard about it for the first time this week: it aims to explain the discrepancies between voter opinion polls and actual election outcomes, when a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. According to the ever-reliable wikipedia, it refers to "a supposed tendency on the part of some voters to tell pollsters that they are undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate, and yet, on election day, vote for his or her white opponent."

It was named for Tom Bradley, an African-American who lost the 1982 California governor's race despite being ahead in voter polls going into the elections.

So this week, I stumbled across this funny snack-based story: the staff at New York Magazine have tragically fallen victim to The Bradley Effect, after all employees were asked to vote on which items would be sold via the vending machine in the kitchen.

Apparently, many voters - aware that their responses would be read by office management - requested products that were healthy, rather than the chips, chocolates and candies they actually wanted. Doritos were banished; Mr. Nature Trail Mix and Geni Soy BBQ Crisps topped the must-have list.

And here's the funniest part - the snack machine's vendor has determined that people don’t eat soy chips nearly as often as they ask for them. It's all just for show. "Yeah, I love soy crisps," office workeds lie. "I have them as part of my morning tea snack, with a piece of fruit and some non-salted nuts." In reality, they're scarffing down m&ms under the desk - and the snack vendors are onto it. At New York magazine, at least: they've now discontinued sales of all Geni Soy products. All because of the Bradley Effect.