Thursday, February 18, 2010

Negative ads work...

Remember those ads?

The Texas Tribune's poll tested how negative ads made people react and found that they do work (link). Excerpt follows...

In our poll, the measuring was done like this: Respondents rated the two candidates on a scale of 0 to 100, with Perry at one end and Hutchison at the other. Perry's spot attacking Hutchison moved his folks two points in his direction, Hutchison's folks five points in his direction, and undecided voters almost nine points in his direction. Hutchison's attack on Perry pulled his voters her way by three points, improved her score with her own folks by two points, and pulled undecided voters almost six points her way.

"Both of them had an effect," Shaw said, "The effect was significantly more pronounced among undecided voters. And there seems to be a slight edge to the Perry ad."

I have a couple of problems with the information or lack thereof the Texas Tribune has given us.

First... Rick was winning pretty big in their poll to begin with, so he had more ground to lose and less to gain... and it seems like Rick's peeps are more intensely supportive which means that there may have been people who were persuaded but couldn't get any more supportive based on the ad.

In other words, why didn't they just put out the full numbers? What was the support intensity before, and what was it after? I am not seeing these numbers in the cross tabs...

The other thing is that these ads had already run before people took this survey... I don't think you can scientifically test the impact of an ad if people have already seen it maybe several times on television. It taints the true test of it.

The final thing is that Rick's team was a lot smarter and more disciplined in terms of showing an ad fully to the point that it had enough "points" behind it. Kay's team seemed bipolar and schizophrenic jumping from one ad to another and never leaving any one message on television for more than a short time. In other words even if Rick's ad had been less effective in a focus group or something like that it was definitely more effective in terms of Rick putting the necessary money behind it.

Still I think this article is interesting and shows that negative ads are on television all the time during campaigns because they actually work.

I am not seeing any Rick or Kay ads up here, but peeps still ask me about it all the time.

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.