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View Diary: Daily Kos Elections Polling Wrap: Are there upsets in store next month in the state of Michigan? (130 comments)

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  •  People misunderstand why Bain is important (24+ / 0-)

    Good campaigns aren't built to move poll numbers in July, they're built to win votes in the fall.  In that regard, there's plenty that happens early that shapes what voters do late, even though real-time polling doesn't reflect it.

    In that regard, the Bain attacks can decide the election for Obama even though ballot test polling doesn't move now.

    Look at Presidential campaigns past, at the things in any given campaign that people say in hindsight significantly affected the ultimate outcome, and you'll find those things weren't accompanied by real-time polling movement.  Instead, they were part of the package of information voters absorbed for their actual decisions later.

    The Bain stuff is not at all a bubble.  These are TV ads with heavy buys going on a couple months now.  And they've become accompanied by increasing news coverage, and then Mitt's and his campaign's mishandling of the Bain issues and Mitt's wealth, all to form what's becoming a perfect storm.  This is stuff average voters see, not like the 99% of stuff pundits discuss in the news cycle that voters don't know or care about.

    Bain matters.

    44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

    by DCCyclone on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:18:24 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I think I part ways here at a few places (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MHB, Anonyman

      1. I am very skeptical that many of the things "people say in hindsght affected the outcome" really did so.  I don't think Kerry lost because of ads or that LBJ won because of "Daisy".

      2.  The relevant thing, I think, is the marginal difference between these ads and the ones the campaign was going to do before this whole flap, to borrow more thinking from J.B.  Sure, they'll make ads, but how much more will these ads move voters than the ones they had in mind before, or would have made if Mitt had a different background?  

      3. Just because the campaign wants this to happen doesn't mean it actually will.

      4. I think Obama was doing well anyway, so I don't see how this could decide the election unless you really think he was going to lose before and now he'll win.

      And most of all:  what's the evidence?  Focus groups?

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:32:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your points are all easily rebuttable (13+ / 0-)

        First, Kerry was hurt badly by Bush's ads.  No not the Swift Boat ad or its coverage, I don't think the public bought into that garbage.  But Bush's own ads did define Kerry negatively and hurt him badly.  They played off the stereotype of Dems as weak on national security at a time when people were still worried about that as a top concern in spite of Iraq going so badly.  The windsurfing ad in particular was devastating, but others, too, were effective.  Meanwhile, no the Daisy ad didn't matter because it aired only once I believe, but the theme it promoted was LBJ's entire campaign against Goldwater, that he was an extremist ("in your guts you know he's nuts").

        Second, I think you misunderstand what Obama was planning, these were the ads they planned all along.  These very issues were long-planned.  No the exact ads weren't cut weeks or months ago, but their message was chosen long before.  They had the oppo research ready, probably last year, and they've been stringing out over time for maximum sustained effect.  In fact, all the news coverage is driven by the ads, not the other way around.  This has all been engineered by OFA.  Not that they knew exactly how it would play out or that things would play into their hands this well, but they've been driving this story, not catching it like a wave.

        Third, the campaign already knows the ads have been working.  It's been two months, this isn't new.  Even public polling establishes that pluralities of voters view Bain negatively and see Mitt overall unfavorably.  Of course Mitt's image tanked in the primaries, but he recovered somewhat since vanquishing Santorum, but his recovery stopped thanks to OFA's ads.

        Fourth, yes I think he would lose before and now he'll win...not quite that starkly because I wouldn't have been sure he'd lose and I'm not sure he'll now win, but I'm happy to provide a simplified answer that way anyway for the sake of answering your point.  Obama has survived the bad economic news, months of it, by making voters balk at Romney.  If Romney had a better public image, he'd be leading narrowly now instead of trailing narrowly.  And it's OFA's ads that have kept his public image in the toilet.

        As far as evidence goes, the public evidence is focus groups and polling.  But the implicit evidence is that OFA keeps hammering away at this, and they have proven themselves terrific at picking and peddling campaign messages.  They're not new at this, they've proven their chops, so when they do something with a sustained effort, you can bet they've tested it privately at great length and know it works.

        44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

        by DCCyclone on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:46:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I might not have been clear (0+ / 0-)

          By "marginal difference" I mean only that the GOP might have nominated Perry or Huntsman or Jeb or hypothetical non-outsourcing Romney.  If Romney had retired, then there'd be another nominee.  

          And the Dems would attack that nominee.  So what's the difference between the expected value of those attacks and these?  How much do these attacks move the needle relative to other campaign attacks?  5 points?  1 point?  

          That's how much it matters, I think.  And I guess I just disagree that Obama's numbers holding up is a mystery.  I don't think these are tho kinds of numbers that knock out incumbents.  I think rapid negative change seems to, but that hasn't happened--not since 2009.  And I don't think too many incumbents have lost absent fairly recent negative change.  

          As for Mitt's numbers--I'm still not sure how much that's driven by residual rightwing resentment.

          I'm sure the campaign is the best there is, but that doesn't mean the election turns on their actions.

          26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

          by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:00:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I now don't understand "marginal difference" (3+ / 0-)

            Well if the GOP nominated someone else, Obama would slam them for whatever that nominee's liabilities are.

            Of course the ads matter.  They matter even if there's a stalemate.

            Jeez, you saw this all through the GOP primaries, Mitt won the nomination only because he ran all those attack ads, which worked because he had money to air them and his opponents didn't.  Whenever Mitt failed to engage and instead let organic voter sentiment run its course in a given state, most of the time he'd lose.

            In the general, Obama's ads are somewhat canceled out by Romney's and his allies' ads combined with a disappointing economy.  So numbers don't move, there's a polling stalemate.  But if Obama didn't run these ads, he'd be losing.

            I don't see why it's so hard to understand TV ads matter, and work.

            44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

            by DCCyclone on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:11:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  TV ads might matter in different ways in (0+ / 0-)

              An open seat primary than in an incumbent/challenger general election.  And ads might matter to some extent but what I'm wondering about is how much Message A vs. Message B matters within however much ads matter, which in turn is some subset of his much campaigns matter.

              If Obama was blanketing the airwaves with Ryan plan ads or with foreign policy ads but not with Bain ads, would he be losing then?  Just because the campaign apparently likes Bain ads more doesn't mean he would be.

              26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

              by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:26:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bain Ads Undercut Romney's Supposed Strengths (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Larsstephens, Aquarius40

                whereas ads regarding foreign policy or the Ryan plan do not.

                Romney has only 4 major things he can run on:

                1) He's not Obama.
                2) He "saved" the Olympics.
                3) MA Health Care Reform
                4) He's a job creator.

                He already can't use #3 and the Bain ads destroy #4 in the minds of the public.

                #1 and 2 aren't enough to win.

                •  oh and well (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Larsstephens

                  he may have had his plutocratic hand in the cookie jar by continuing to hold a seat on the Staples board, while simultaneously trying to get them into the advertisers slot that Office Depot eventually took.

                  Nothing fishy there. Olympic uniforms? Made in Canada. I could go on, and provide links, but everyone knows here this is what's on the horizon.

                  Hillary Sent Me. OBAMA/BIDEN '12

                  by HillaryIsMyHomegirl on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 10:36:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Yes he'd be losing then (0+ / 0-)

                Foreign policy and Ryan plan ads wouldn't work as well, or at all.  That's because hardly anyone this year cares about foreign policy, and the Ryan plan is a creature of Congress, Mitt passively endorsed it but it's not his own plan.

                Bain works because it's all about Mitt, and that's who Obama is running against:  Mitt.

                Xenocrypt, this isn't random, it's always the case some things work and others don't.  And in your example, it's obvious Bain would work and those other things don't.

                I guess I don't follow why you think ads are all random noise.  It's a given they're not.

                44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

                by DCCyclone on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 06:38:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  When have I ever said that (0+ / 0-)

                  Ads are random noise?  I just think that the specifics of the message of an ad are only responsible for some fraction of the electoral effect of an ad campaign, which is only responsible for some fraction of the electoral effect of the campaign, which in turn only explains some fraction of the outcome of an election.  I actually appreciate that you discuss advertising in a broader context than many posters and pundits, but I don't think there's evidence that fractional effect is the one thing keeping the incumbent President afloat during a period of stagnation/weak growth and largely winding-down wars, which as far as I know have not historically been conditions that knock out incumbents.  

                  26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

                  by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 07:52:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "Historically" is meaningless for this election... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...because the current conditions have never existed.

                    The relevant conditions are that we have an incumbent President running for reelection who inherited a stubborn jobs recession that he hasn't been able to alleviate to a degree to satisfy the national electorate.

                    The closest precedent to that was FDR in the 30s, but there are too many major distinctions to treat that as precedent.  FDR inherited the Great Depression, not a bad recession, and it had been going on for 3 years when FDR first took office, not less than a year as voters now perceive it for Obama (the December 2007 start-date for the recession is meaningless to voters, they didn't perceive a downturn until much later).  Those are, for obvious reasons, major things that caused voters in the 30s to give FDR a lot more slack than Obama gets now, since they understood intuitively they were in a history-making mess that they didn't know if a President could really fix, at least not quickly.

                    The next-closest precedent is 2004, with Bush on the wire with almost identical job approvals and ballot test polling as Obama now.  In Bush's case, the Iraq War was dragging on with no success or end in sight.  But that, too, was different, because the war didn't inflict national trauma like this recession has, and greater pain for the electorate risks greater punishment inflicted on POTUS.  But the flip-side is that Bush chose that war, Obama inherited this recession, and that's mitigating for Obama.

                    The 1980 and 1992 examples don't apply because those incumbents' troubles started on their watch, while Obama fully inherited his.  Again, that's mitigating, and voters "get" that.

                    So there is no applicable historical precedent for this election.  We're testing out a completely new thing this November.  That being the case, it's not accurate to say these are not conditions that knock out incumbents, because the relevant conditions never before existed.

                    The bottom line is Mitt's favorables are underwater, and that didn't happen in a vacuum.  It was because of ads.  And that's why Obama is winning.  The conditions are bad enough that it defies logic that he's not benefitting in the ballot test from Mitt's poor public image.  It can be a "fraction" of the electorate as you say, but a fraction is all that ever matters anyway.

                    44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

                    by DCCyclone on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:18:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Fight! Fight! Fight! (0+ / 0-)

           It's the Strategist versus the Analyst! Two men enter, one man leaves!

          http://www.snappac.org/ Students for a New American Politics!

          by redrelic17 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:28:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think we must compare the data (0+ / 0-)

        data of the poll (7/9 to 7/13) vs data of the Bain issue (7/12? or 7/13?)

        Despite the poll is published now after the Bain issue break in the media, the poll ask to the people and take the data from the people some days before.

        If this pollster would ask me in these days, I would answer the poll without know enough about the issue.

        I think is too early for see the effect of this issue in the polls.

        Still we will see new polls that take their data before the issue appears strongly in the media.

    •  To put it another way (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bythesea

      Even if the campaign puts this in ads and then wins or even wins big, then I don't think it'd be clear that A caused B.  And that hasn't woven happened!  Patience and skepticism, that's all I'm pushing.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:47:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's settled they're working even if... (7+ / 0-)

        ...Obama loses.

        The election, like Presidential elections are, is multidimensional.  These ads can work and he can lose anyway, or he can have a fumbling message and win anyway in spite of himself and his campaign.

        So you're right broadly that correlation doesn't equal causation.

        But there's plenty enough evidence to conclude the the attacks on Mitt's business and financial background are working.  There's public polling and focus groups, there have been tea leaves that OFA's focus groups and polls say the same, and most importantly there is the reality that OFA keeps hammering away at these themes on TV.  They do that because they know it's working.  When a campaign does the same thing for two months and there are apparent benefits, then there's no question it's worked.

        Skepticism in the abstract is fine and healthy, but we have enough information to go beyond an abstraction here.

        44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

        by DCCyclone on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 07:52:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The fact that they're on TV means (0+ / 0-)

          The campaign thinks it's the best attack possible.  But I doubt think that tells us the magnitude of the effect.

          26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

          by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:04:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  *don't think (0+ / 0-)

            Still getting used to this phone.

            26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

            by Xenocrypt on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:09:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The fact they're on TV for TWO MONTHS... (5+ / 0-)

            ...means they're effective.  You don't stick with something for a couple months with no signs of abating when something doesn't seem to be moving the needle.

            And again, we have some public polling and focus groups establishing these ads work.

            Not to mention the exact same things hurt Romney temporarily in the GOP primaries, and more fatally in 1994.

            There's plenty of evidence this stuff actually works.  It's not hypothetical.

            44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

            by DCCyclone on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:19:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Xenocrypt and I had a related discussion yesterday (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larsstephens, DCCyclone

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              My conclusion -- it limits Mitt's upside, even if the economy gets worse over the next few months --

              based on a comparison with Carter-Reagan '80. Of course '12 is nowhere near as bad as '80 for us economically (or in foreign policy), and I think that's part of the equation.

              "I hope; therefore, I can live."
              For SSP users, see my Tips for Swingnuts diary

              by tietack on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:01:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, the '80 & also '92 comparisons are stupid (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tietack

                Carter and Bush 41 both had job approvals in the 20s and 30s.  Obama is in the high 40s.  Night-and-day difference.

                Also, regarding your statement in one comment there that "voters aren't listening carefully now," what some people seem to miss is that's what TV ads are for.  No they are not listening carefully, therefore OFA is shoving ads directly into their faces everytime they turn on the TV.  And they see them, and the ads register.

                I'm not sure what Xenocrypt is getting at, what he thinks decides elections.  No it's not all silly economic models that try to reduce everything to a few items...voting behavior and outcomes are more complicated than that, and those models always have big holes as a result.  Campaigns and candidates always matter.

                It's as I said, campaigns aren't built to move ballot test polling in the summer, they're built to move votes in the fall.  If they move ballot test polling quickly, all the better, but that's not the purpose.

                44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

                by DCCyclone on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 06:31:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think a contrast to '80 is appropriate (0+ / 0-)

                  There are superficial similarities between '12 and '80 -- but important contrasts, e.g.:

                  Obama's approval > Carter
                  Inflation in '12 << Inflation in '80
                  Romney as a candidate << Reagan

                  However, these economic circumstances are similar enough -- there is a potential for Romney to get late momentum.

                  I think Bain, and putting "Romney exports American jobs" message in people's heads, reduces that risk of late Romney momentum to near zero.

                  However, I'm not aware of anyone who is making contrasts to '92. Given the Perot factor, '92 and '12 are really apples and oranges, and such a comparison can objectively be called "stupid".

                  "I hope; therefore, I can live."
                  For SSP users, see my Tips for Swingnuts diary

                  by tietack on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 06:50:22 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well one other thing.. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Xenocrypt

                    Yes but we also don't have an Iranian Hostage Crisis either and that foriegn policy debacle mainly cemented the public's image of Carter as an undecisive type.

                  •  I think the first two of those factors (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tietack

                    are more important than the second.  If I recall correctly, Reagan wasn't that popular as a challenger anyway.

                    Obama has decent favorables and mediocre approvals, he's the incumbent, the economy isn't great but it stopped getting actively worse long ago, there aren't any Iranian Hostage Crisis things (of course we're still in Afghanistan but I have no reason to think that's costing Obama electorally).  And he's narrowly ahead.  Forget regression--what's intuitively surprising there?  Do you really think that could all be true but he'd be dead in the water against Mike Huckabee?  It's certainly possible but I don't think it has to be true.

                    (If Obama were behind, maybe that wouldn't be surprising either--but at this point I doubt he'd be trailing any reasonable Republican.)

                    26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

                    by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:18:19 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Reagan was smoooooooooth (0+ / 0-)

                      and he knew how to connect, which overcame the image he had with "flaws" like his proposed Rhodesian Expeditionary Force.

                      Huckabee isn't nearly that good, but he'd still have a chance to connect to the American public late in the campaign --

                      though OfA certainly would have shifted to social issues against a Huck as a nominee.

                      "I hope; therefore, I can live."
                      For SSP users, see my Tips for Swingnuts diary

                      by tietack on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 07:47:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  No, circumstances not similar (0+ / 0-)

                    Carter's term had gas lines!  People would shit bricks beyond belief to have those now.  They did so then.

                    And there wasn't just inflation, but 20%(!) inflation, and also 20%(!) interest rates!

                    And then the Iran hostage trauma.

                    None of those things exist now, which is why no, there is no potential for Romney to have the kind of late momentum Reagan had, not under present circumstances.  Something more and unexpected will have to go wrong for Obama for anything remotely like '80 to happen.

                    44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

                    by DCCyclone on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:34:48 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I said "contrast" not "comparison" (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      DCCyclone

                      Even with all of the differences (most in our favor), Carter was tied until late October.

                      "I hope; therefore, I can live."
                      For SSP users, see my Tips for Swingnuts diary

                      by tietack on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 02:55:59 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Whoops, I misread your previous comment then (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        tietack

                        Sorry about that!

                        I do think the only reason Carter was hanging in there for so long was that people were suspicious of Reagan.  Only very late did they break for him, and yes the one debate a week out was the kicker.  In an era when the only media were the three broadcast TV networks, PBS, radio, and print, a single debate was a very big deal that would penetrate without any other noise getting in the way.

                        44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

                        by DCCyclone on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 05:27:31 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  De nada; Reagan had skills that Romney does not (0+ / 0-)

                          However, there is a risk that the economy will get worse over the next few months, and that can work in favor of a challenger...

                          unless that challenger has the economic albatross that we're hanging around his neck known as Bain (or Bane, as Rush might suggest).

                          "I hope; therefore, I can live."
                          For SSP users, see my Tips for Swingnuts diary

                          by tietack on Thu Jul 19, 2012 at 06:50:20 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                •  I think campaigns and candidates play a part (0+ / 0-)

                  But that doesn't mean they always explain who won or lost.  I've been looking at past House elections and there have definitely been strong challengers and weak incumbents, but usually, the weak incumbents still win.  Sometimes there's a wave, and then that's not true.  

                  I know you think mathematical models are silly, and I think some of them are a reach, but fundamentally they're just a way to summarize a lot of information.  And the last few elected incumbent Presidents to lose--Taft, Hoover, Carter, Bush--all had either election-year recessions (before the election) or election-year unemployment peaks.  Maybe that's just a coincidence, and Bush II should have broken the pattern but Kerry was a putz, but it makes sense to me.  (I think unemployment peaked in September of 2003 so perhaps a narrow incumbent win makes sense.)

                  Obama has something different--and so I don't see what needs to be explained.  Maybe if he, say, stopped campaigning altogether then he'd lose, but that's not what's under discussion.

                  26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

                  by Xenocrypt on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 08:07:56 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  House races are different (0+ / 0-)

                    Presidentials are unique.  Voting behavior is completely different, campaigning is unique, the media and public attention are unique.

                    Senate races are a big dropoff, as are Governor's races.

                    But then there's a very steep dropoff and everything else downballot is totally different.  Voters pay no attention at all until very late, and that extends up to U.S. House races.

                    All this means the factors are very different regarding what affects election outcomes.

                    I can tell you last year in NoVa field alone won a bunch of races.  In my little neck of the woods, local Dems overperformed greatly over expectations because our field effort dwarfed the GOP's.  My incumbent Dem county school board member was expected to lose, I expected her to lose, and she surprised and hung on.  Dems otherwise were expected to lose several open school board seats, but held every single one.

                    Presidentials, campaigns matter a lot, but it's messaging and impressions left with voters that matter.  Obviously these things affect the outcome ultimately only in close races, or in close states even if the winner isn't in doubt.

                    44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

                    by DCCyclone on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 06:41:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. (4+ / 0-)

      The Bain attacks fit into a larger narrative that the Obama campaign will continue until November.

      While we complain about the outside spending that Republicans are doing, one advantage that the Obama team will have (because most of their spending is being done directly rather than relying on outside groups to do the spending for them) is that they are better prepared to hammer on a single narrative, rather than the Republicans, who have so many different outside groups that they "aren't allowed" to coordinate with and therefore will have a more difficult time to create a single narrative.  It's the economy!  No, wait, it's health care!  Or the budget deficit!

      28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:01:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The money is offset by the material available (5+ / 0-)

        You can do only so much with whatever material you have.  In the GOP's case, voters already have their own opinions of Obama and the economy, and there's not much a TV ad can do to move the needle.  It's not nothing, but it's not much.  On anything but the economy, there's not a lot of good material.  Health care is still good material for Team Red, but it's of marginal help at best.  The deficits and debt are similarly helpful, perhaps more than health care because voters vaguely connect them to the economy.  But all that stuff already is largely baked into the cake, ads can't move the needle much.  Obama otherwise is a clean man on ethics and politics, and voters won't buy any corruption meme.

        But Romney is more of a blank slate and has a lot of things that are easily exploited by a skilled campaign, which Obama has.

        Outspent or not, Obama just has a lot more material against Romney that can help on TV than Romney and his allies have against Obama.  That's what we're really seeing now, and it's why our modestly-funded superpacs are so much more effective than the supermassive spending by the GOP superpacs and other indie groups.

        44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

        by DCCyclone on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 08:17:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bain is just a part of a larger narrative.. (4+ / 0-)

          Romney has had to spend time RESPONDING to Bain and the rquests for his tax returns that is time that he really can't spend time attacking Obama on Obama's most percieved weaknesses the economy and deficit. The adds are working if they make him respond instead of him making Obama respond to his attacks. It seems that already that Obama's attacks are making Romney change his story bringing up Kerry & McCain tax returns then when it turned out that both had been releasing returns for 20 or more years he turned to attacking Kerry's wife for not releasing hers when she didn't run for president her husband did,all of this doesn't out Romney in a very good light now does it? I'm thinking the narrative that Bush set in 2004,i.e. that Kerry was a flip-flopper.

        •  Plus there's only so much ad space (3+ / 0-)

          In most of the swing states where it matters, a lot of the ad space has already been bought up by the campaigns.

          Plus people are probably going to get sick of the ads and will probably tune them out.

          I hate anecdotes in these discussions. That said, here's an anecdote. I live in North Florida. Romney spent a ton of money here winning the Republican primary. The night before the election I watched the evening news and 7 out of 10 ads was the same anti-Gingrich Romney attack ad. The next day Gingrich won my county and most of North Florida.

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