Monday, October 16, 2006

Perhaps this is a Dog Bites Man kind of story...

... but, it appears that campaign ads are getting nastier and nastier. A recent article in CQ indicates that a number of factors have converged in 2006 to make this the most negative campaign ever. First of all, there's the fight between Republicans and Democrats for control of the House and Senate. Second, there's all the fodder that both parties have thrown toward the campaigns (either willingly or unwillingly) in terms of scandals and ethics problems. Finally, of course, there's the ongoing disagreement over the war and whether as a country we're doing OK or whether we're on the verge of a horrific terrorist attack or economic collapse. For the party in power, that's a fine line to walk. For the party out of power, it's been difficult to deliver a cohesive message on what their candidates would do differently.

Unfortunately, negativity seems to work, especially when campaigns are sophisticated enough to "narrow-cast" their messages in such a way as to reach segments of the population with specific negative messages that focus on what those individuals care most about. Campaigns have the ability to run ads that, for example, tell people who have self-identified as "concerned about security" how the "other guy" will leave them open to terrorist threats and attacks. That "gets them where they live" as it were, and is tremendously effective.

Check out the article online here:

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