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October 13, 2008

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Kathleen Bergin

I agree, politicians do what works. This is why its so disheartening when racism, sexism, xenophobia and the like become mainstream campaign rhetoric. They spew it because we buy it.

And I'm afraid that says more about us than it does about them.

Bill Childs

While I agree with the point generally as to the efficacy of negative advertising, I'm not sure I'd agree that the McCain/Palin effort to tie Obama to William Ayers has been "successful." It's fairly unusual to have polling on that specific of an issue, but in this case, we do (albeit a poll with some less-than-neutrally-written questions):

http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/10/fox_poll_ayers_not_hurting_oba.php

Although there are some who see the alleged problems as relevant, it also looks like it may be hurting McCain as well, with his perception as running a negative ad causing blowback. Perhaps that's because, as you suggest, the curtain was pulled back fairly early in the process flagging the ads for what they were.

Over the ten days or so that the Ayers theme has been in play, the tracking polls have stayed pretty consistent, with Obama up by at least five points.

Kathy Stanchi

Thank you, Bill. Good point. When I said "successful," I was focusing - in an unduly narrow way - on the recent craziness at McCain/Palin rallies. But, as you point out, that's not the relevant audience. The question is whether it has swayed undecided voters (or made Obama supporters change their minds).

Bill Childs

That's certainly true, and those crowds are *an* important audience (and it didn't occur to me that you were referring to them, which was just not thinking on my part). Their reaction presumably results in more and more enthusiastic volunteers, necessary for GOTV and so on, so that's useful for their campaign, I suppose. But if the people they get out to vote are voting for Obama, not so useful.

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