Ask me anything... within reason
Some ad analysis I posted to Tumblr’s Election blog. As they say in standup comedy, “I’ll be here all week, folks!”
This new ad by the pro-Romney Crossroads GPS super PAC shows why I was never worried by all the panic over how the flood of unregulated campaign money would be a disaster for Obama. According to Politico, the $16 million to be spent by the Karl Rove-directed PACs is “their biggest paid media push so far in the 2012 cycle.”
The ad contrasts Obama’s promises about the stimulus with what “Actually Happened” (the spot’s title).
Here’s why Rove is wasting the money donated by wealthy Obama-haters, and why the supposed Republican cash advantage (which has apparently disintegrated anyway) doesn’t matter as much as we were warned.
- Political advertising just doesn’t matter as much in October of a presidential election year, simply because there is so much “free media” (the news) and voters are already inundated with information. Can you remember any important ads from October 2008?
- Ads attacking a president are not as effective as ads against a challenger. People know Obama pretty well by now and are less likely to have their views changed by a 30-second spot. Negative ads work much better against Romney, who is much less well known, especially among politically tuned-out swing voters (who the ads are for).
- This ad isn’t nearly as good as it thinks it is. (Once again, Republicans are “getting high on their own supply.”) It uses charts to convince voters the economy is bad and didn’t measure up to Obama’s promises. (Set aside some questionable stats in the ad: recent revisions have shown there has been a net gain of jobs under Obama; most of the job losses took place in his first few months, i.e., the immediate Bush hangover and before the stimulus; and many of the subsequent job loss has been in the public sector, since aid to states and local governments was cut out of the stimulus, forcing layoffs.) Voters already know about the economy and are starting to become more optimistic. If a voter feels his or her work situation is secure, a chart won’t change that.
I love how the narrator turns and walks off in disgust just before the ad ends. As if the viewers were wasting his time.
Bottom line: having money in a campaign allows you to communicate and buy a slice of the voters’ attention. If your message isn’t effective, or if voters have heard it before and have already discounted it, the money won’t buy you any advantage.