Thursday, October 18, 2012

The End of Obama's Negative Campaign Ads?

James Geraghty writes:

Jim Hoft provides a quick look at two fascinating bits of analysis from Karl Rove.

The Obama campaign has pulled down all of its negative advertising. And is now running virtually all positive ads in the battleground states heralding all the success of the last four years. This is very unusual because they have been constantly beating up on Romney. In recent weeks the president's negatives have risen and Romney particularly after this debate has moved into a lead. You saw it in the Gallup poll you talked about. Six point lead, 51-45. Yesterday it was 50-46. This is the first time that Romney has hit 50 percent in the Gallup likely voter poll and the president has never hit 50 percent in the likely voter poll. And no candidate who has led in mid-October with 50 percent or more in the likely voter poll has ever gone on to lose.


The disappearance of the negative ads offers two fascinating conclusions.

1. Think about all of those negative ads run by the Obama campaign and Priorities USA all summer long — millions upon millions of dollars' worth — and Romney undid them with one debate performance. One debate performance! Political consultants for years to come will study this, and the conventional wisdom that negative advertising works may get reexamined by the professionals.

2. Can you run as brutal and bare-knuckle a campaign as Obama and his allies have and suddenly go positive in the final three weeks? If Obama had any kind of a compelling, positive message, why hasn't he been running on it from the beginning? (There are 2 million early votes cast already.) What better way to reveal that the campaign has no faith in its over-arching strategy than to make a sudden total shift in a crisis?

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