We wrote here about this topic and an excellent analysis of it by Zombie. A major element of the Obama campaign's strategy is to make an Obama victory appear to be a foregone conclusion. There are two benefits they are seeking: 1) to discourage opposition voters, so they give up prematurely and 2) to capture "go along" voters who will vote for whoever seems to be ahead.
It seems to be working so far, but is it really? All the polls show an amazing amount of "undecided" voters at this late date. It's less well-known, but there is also a large percentage of people who are refusing to participate in polls when contacted. There is reason to believe that both of these groups, when they actually vote, will be lopsidedly in favor of McCain/Palin.
Wynton Hall : Obama's Spiral of Silence - Townhall.com: "If Sen. Barack Obama loses the presidency or wins by far narrower margins than the double-digit lead some mainstream media polls predict, his weak performance will not be the result of the so-called “Bradley Effect,” which holds that black candidates underperform at the polls due to latent racism. Rather, the true culprit will be something public opinion scholars call the “Spiral of Silence Theory.”Goodness knows it's hard to stick up for conservative ideas on the heels of George W. "No Government Spending Program Left Behind" Bush's administration. Add in the widespread attitude that anyone who would vote against Obama, or criticize him in any way, is a racist and/or dangerously angry. Most people will choose just to say nothing.
In the 1970s, German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann introduced a provocative and startling theory of mass communication she called the “Spiral of Silence.” Noelle-Neumann argued that when mass media create an impression that the majority of society holds one view on a topic, those who hold minority opinions are cowed into a “spiral of silence” for fear of reprisal or isolation from those in the majority."
So will this Obama strategy work? It's up to us. Don't let yourself be deluded into not voting. Remember an election is not a "bet" where you win by voting with the majority. If a bad candidate wins, we all lose. Period. It could very well be that next Wednesday we'll wake up to the biggest election surprise since Harry Truman failed to lose to the inevitable President Dewey. Wouldn't that be fun to see. Even if Obama wins, at least you'll know that the disastrous results of his policies won't be your fault.
Remember Republicans vote on Tuesday. Democrats vote on Wednesday. :)
Another cross-post from DLMSY.