Saturday, October 30, 2010

Attack ads and polling

Negative advertising is nothing new as this clever video shows.

A tip of the tricorner to my FB friend and fellow Phils fan Karl for pointing this out.

I recently asked a longtime politico to put up a few positive spots reminding people why they should vote for his client and not just against the other guy. He said our "polls show that seniority and past accomplishments don't move the numbers this year. " Unfortunately that is probably true of any year. The truth is the negative ads work as my friend on the other side Dana recently lamented.

The campaign pollsters drive races these days and while you have to take any polling numbers released by a campaign with a grain of salt these polls are considerably more expensive and the methodology is more rigorous. If they tell their clients just what they want to hear and turn out to be terribly wrong future campaigns won't hire them. That is why I give more credence to polls conducted by the Dem outfit Momentun Analysis and GOP fav The Tarrance Group.

I don't really trust the public polls this cycle as polling is getting harder and more expensive to do as this story in my favorite magazine The Economist documents.

It is getting ever harder to work out what the American public thinks

The immediate problem is the rapid growth in the number of people who have only a mobile phone, and are thus excluded from surveys conducted by landline. About a quarter of Americans are now “cellphone-onlys” (CPOs) in the industry jargon, and this poses both practical and statistical difficulties... They often retain their telephone numbers, including the area code, when they move from state to state, so it is hard to know where they are. And it costs more to call a mobile phone in the first place.

Sure there creditable public polls such as Gallop and the Q Poll but much of the the rest of it is dime-store junk as Charlie Cook said.

Speaking of junk the Times Leader published a poll on Wednesday that it paid a company in Maine to conduct that came up with the opposite results of just about every other pollster. According to this rookie political polling operation Kanjorski is up 47-39% but just 2 weeks ago Barletta was leading by 2 points. I sure hope that they are right but I seriously doubt that there has been a 10 point swing in this race in just 2 weeks. In the 10th CD they have Marino up by the same margin as last time with a big undecided. Every other public and private poll that I have seen has Carney leading.

One candidate is not running negative ads and he just may win.


McGruff said...

G-man, most polls had Carney and Marino in a dead heat over time according to a quick Google search. When you have Ed Mitchell driving the bus there will be nothing but negativity in the race. I recall a certain candidate who wanted to do a positive campaign. His media guy told him "That is the last time I want to hear that coming out of your mouth". Messages are measured with polling. Sifting through and mining the data in a poll is what drives those messages, not strictly who is up or who is down. Polling is a snapshot of that moment in its collection. As we see it can change. But the candidate who uses the polling to assess the electorate to decide on the next strategy in driving the message uses his polling more effectively. You know as well as I do that candidates' polling, if compared, should not be that far apart if they are credible. Each side is looking at essentially the same numbers and making strategy decisions based on the crticial mining. Don't perform a critical analysis of that data and you wasted a ton of money. But candidates reach a point in data collection where it may not make a difference in their direction. Close to the election it becomes full speed ahead and a waste of money to continue polling. You make a great point about cell numbers that most candidates realize if their pollsters are worth any grain of salt. There are many commercials shot that con't make it to the air. The polling usually determines their fate(the commercial). Assessing each candidate's strategy at any point can give you some idea of their conclusions from mining the data. Kanjorski has been looking at a re-elect number in his polling that has to be of deep concern; its fatal. Ed Mitchell won't acknowledge it but I respect him for that. He is being paid to try to win. The race is not over until 8PM November 2nd. I have a saying. The general wins the war by not getting emotional. Barletta understands that. You are going to see this race go down to the wire with strategy. Unfortunately "Goody two shoes" commercials won't be showing in a theatre any time soon.

Anonymous said...

Carney's going to win. Unless.......the "October Surprise" is released. I don't know if they'll do it. I think it was just be viewed as tastless at this point. I just don't know why they sat on it this long just to let it out at the last minute. That's kinda the other reason I hope they don't do it.

McGruff said...

Speaking of negative ads.

Unknown said...

your best post to date relies on a video by a libertarian government group. We'll convert you yet!