When Tom Bradley lost the '82 California governor's race, everyone blamed it on race. He'd been ahead in the polls.
The Bradley effect refers to those who vote for the white candidate, yet tell pollsters they're undecided or likely to vote for a black candidate before the election.
I have a wild theory that on this election we'll have a similar phenomena in the reverse. The Military Effect.
Members of the military commonly say they'll vote for John McCain, but I have the feeling that many won't on this election. But they speak the "party line" because supporting Barack Obama is often seen as unpatriotic, or disloyal at the very least, in their community. A soldier in uniform can't afford to be perceived as disloyal. In the last couple of elections we've seen soldiers loyal to the Republican party as Hollywood is Democrat.
Only a precious few retired military generals support the democratic ticket. In fact, it took General Colin Powell a lifetime to speak his mind. I lost all respect for General Powell when he made the case for war in Iraq before Congress. He knew better, yet he sacrificed his principles rather than resign. But in all fairness, maybe he thought he'd serve his country better if he stayed the course. Also, had he resigned, he'd been dismissed as unpatriotic. Reputation is everything, just ask President Bush. I bet he'd give anything to get back his good reputation (you know, the "good reputation" he enjoyed right after 9/11).
And so young soldiers are likely to tell you what you expect to hear. But don't take my word for it. Ask a young soldier what s/he thinks of Colin Powell's switcharoo. S/he'll tell you, very diplomatically, that everyone's entitled to their opinion.
No, they aren't. Not when they have an entire career ahead of them.