Charles Barkley Predicts 'Reverse Bradley Effect'

     Election punditry sometimes comes from strange places. On CNN, it came from a former professional basketball player with a liberal point of view.

     Charles Barkley, a former NBA most valuable player, who is now an analyst for TNT’s basketball coverage appeared on CNN’s Oct. 27 “Election Center” to lend his insight on voter behavior.

     Barkley noted that polls indicate Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama has a large lead, but said they are useless because the “Bradley effect” is a real polling phenomenon.

     “I think the polls are absolutely useless, I do,” Barkley said. “Seriously, most people who are racist, they’re not going to answer the question correctly, either on the phone call or on camera. So I 100 percent believe the polls are flat-out useless. I think this race is going to be neck and neck, down to the wire.”

     The “Bradley effect” was named for former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African American who lost a bid for California governor even though pre-election and exit polling showed him winning. Analysts suggested respondents told pollsters they would vote for Bradley – even though they didn’t – to avoid appearing racist.

     However, Barkley said he thinks Obama’s economic policies, labeled as “socialist” by some, will appeal to some whites – who might otherwise vote based on race – because they favor redistribution of wealth.

     “I also think there is a reverse thing,” Barkley added. “I think there are some white people who say are going to vote for Barack because he’s going to be better for their financial situation. So I think the Bradley factor is a bigger factor, but I do think there are some white people who say they are not going to vote for a black person around their friends, but when they get in the booth – they’re going to vote for him, because it’s going to be better for their economic situation.”

     Barkley also attacked Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain for invoking a negative view of welfare as a coded attempt to make race part of the campaign as a last ditch effort to win.

    “They used code words like welfare and things like that,” Barkley said. “And they just used code words – they’re using the terrorist thing now. You know, they’re trying to use the Muslim thing. Those are racial innuendos. The only way they can win this election is make it about race. That’s the only way they can win it.”

     Barkley also defended remarks from his Feb. 15Election Center” appearance. The TNT analyst had called conservatives “fake Christians” and praised Obama’s brand of economic policies, dubbed “Obamanomics.”