Friday, August 31, 2012

Attack Ads: It was actually Democrats who proved how little electoral success an abundance of riches could buy in 2004


[The Democrat] complaint runs, conservative groups will have enough money to flood the airwaves with attack ads, drowning out more representative voices and creating an artificial Republican tide.
But as Lexington points out,
the practitioners sound far less certain that a record-breaking advertising blitz will be enough to unseat a sitting president.

It was actually Democrats who proved how little electoral success an abundance of riches could buy in 2004, when left-leaning 527s (a sort of precursor to super PACs) spent almost twice as much as right-leaning ones without toppling Mr Bush.
Furthermore,
Not only has the Obama campaign outspent Mr Romney’s on the airwaves over the past few months, media types say, but it has done so with sophistication। …

A hard man to smear

But it is hard to change voters’ views of an incumbent, after four years in which they have been building up firm impressions of their own. Worse, says Steven Law, the president of both American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, Mr Obama is a particularly tricky man to tear down. Voters are well disposed towards him. They bridle at attempts to label him a liberal and recoil when he is mocked or attacked too aggressively, perhaps because of his status as the first black president. A tone of regret and disappointment, rather than anger or indignation, is imperative.

Mr Rove understands this. One of Crossroads’ ads features a woman explaining how she voted for Mr Obama in 2008—“He spoke so beautifully”—but now agonises about her family’s finances and the national debt. In another a female voice says, “He raised our hopes. He seemed to understand. But today he’s different.” In a third, yet another middle-aged woman with children (spot the swing voter) laments, “He promised change. But things have changed for the worse.”