By Aden Nak
Those of you that have visited George W. Bush's website
(as many of us did last week concerning the "Coalition of
the Wild-Eyed" ad spot) may have noticed that the site maintains
a "blog", although it is unclear to me exactly whose blog
it's supposed to be.
Truth be told, it's a blog posing as a news page posing as
a propaganda listing, but I'm willing to over look that because
what I found there was so interesting.
On June 13th, 2004, there was an entry about positive and
negative supporters in the 2004 election. The entry contained
as well as a reference to a recent poll
conducted by the Pew Research Center.
Now, while it's interesting to note that I could not find
the information contained in Bush's chart anywhere in the
Pew poll or its extended materials, what Bush's poll shows
is that he'll be in some serious trouble come Novenber 2nd.
The gist of the poll is that the people that support Bush
do so because they actually approve of Bush, while the people
that support Kerry do so not because they like Kerry, but
because they hate Bush and Kerry is the alternative. Now granted,
that doesn't sound too flattering to John Kerry. And, well,
it isn't. But whether Kerry likes it or not, it's actually
really good news.
This election year is already shaping up to be one of the
most "negative" in terms of campaigns and political advertisements.
By some estimations, it already is the most negative presidential
campaign in history. The general idea behind a negative campaign
is to make the opposing candidate seem very unattractive,
so that your own candidate will get votes by default.
Well, the majority of Kerry supporters already feel that
way about the current President. So the odds of them being
swayed by a negative advertisement are low. On the other hand,
the majority of Bush's supporters are planning to vote for
Bush not because of some inherent distrust of John Kerry,
but because they still have faith in George W. Bush.
If that faith is shattered (the usual result of an effective
negative campaign), this army of disillusioned Bush supporters
will likely vote for John Kerry.
Of course, the opposite is true for George W. Bush. If he
can run a truly effective positive campaign, and convince
the American people that he has not led them astray, he could
win back a great many votes.
Thankfully, positive campaigns are not Bush's strong suit.
His Mad Scientist of Politics, Karl Rove, is absolutely deadly
when he is in his own element. But positive, upbeat messages
aren't really Rove's area of expertise.
There's evidence that this is already taking place. Bush
and his supporters have spent an unprecedented
amount of cash on negative
campaigning so far in this election, and the polls just
honestly don't reflect the spending. Even the Pew poll that
Bush's numbers supposedly come from show the two candidates
as being in a dead heat.
It's going to be an ugly campaign. I think everyone knew
that going in. But the truth is that the ugliness hurts Bush
more than it does Kerry. So as far as these negative campaign
ads go, from both sides of the fence... Bring 'em on!