Awhile back, I would have said that Obama is a shoo-in. Today, I'm not making any predictions because the race is too close. But I'll say this: I won't be shocked if on Wednesday every news pundit in the country is talking about the Bradley Effect. I'm not making any predictions about that either--whether it will occur or not. I'm just saying I won't be surprised.
I live in a bastion of liberalism here in L. A., and I personally know three liberal Democrats who have said privately that they will either be voting for Romney, or are considering voting for Romney, even though they don't want to and are too ashamed to admit it (doing so for purely economic/business/investment reasons). And, therein, lies the Bradley Effect, the "social desirability bias" that invokes the worst political fear there is--the fear of being thought of as basing one's political choices on racial motivation. IOW, when asked whom they're voting for, they'll say Obama to pollsters (and anybody else) and in reality, actually vote for Romney instead.
The Bradley Effect was named after L. A. Mayor Tom Bradley who suffered a shocking loss for re-election years ago, despite the polls indicating otherwise. The problem was that many folks answered polls in favor of Bradley, but when it came to actually casting their vote, they voted for Deukmejian, the challenger and the winner. Many were too ashamed and embarrassed to admit they were not planning to vote for Bradley, thereby skewing the polls inaccurately.
Many thought the Bradley Effect was dead back in '08 due to Obama's easy victory. Those independents and disillusioned moderate Republicans who helped to put him over the top last time may, or may not, be as enthusiastic this time around. Again, I'm not saying it will happen. All I'm saying is, I'm not going to be shocked.
The Bradley Effect is a by-product of racial bias and racial motivation (and fear of being deemed a racist) in voting choices, and I don't for a moment believe that it's dead at all. It's just that nobody wants to admit it, particularly those who want to vote for Obama on Tuesday, but in the privacy of the voting booth on Tuesday, won't be doing so.