Ad War Update: Building A Counter-Narrative

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 24 2012 @ 6:46pm

Things are getting back to negative-normal after the Colorado shooting as Obama gets hit from all sides with "you didn't build that" rhetoric. Here is Rove's Super PAC, American Crossroads, bringing out some small-business owners:

The RNC goes with something more sinister:

Emily Schultheis prefaces the following reply from Obama: "For the Obama campaign to address the comment directly, they must think it's starting to leave a mark":

In the world of ad analysis, Google released some (self-serving) research today suggesting that the eyes-on value of TV and print ads is dropping in favor of web-based material:

More than 80% of eligible voters are online; Similarly, 83% of mobile phone owners are registered voters; 1 out of every 3 likely voters in November say that they didn’t watch tv in the past week; Voters are spending more media time on their mobile devices than newspapers & magazines combined.

But that doesn't mean voters want to see more ads on Facebook:

A new study from the Annenberg School for Communications found that 85 percent of Americans surveyed would be "angry" if they discovered Facebook was serving ads for political candidates based on their profile information. Political advertisers commonly do just that, targeting Facebook ads to people who like certain political organizations or candidates or express other interests that might align with a candidate's stance on an issue. Corporate brands do this, too.

Ad impact analysis is also getting a big boost from Vanderbilt University and YouGov, who are launching the Ad-Rating Project:

The project will "identify controversial and game-changing ads," with the assistance of Republican media consultant Fred Davis, [Vanderbilt political scientist John] Geer said. It will show ads to a sample of 600 Americans contacted online each week through YouGov, which has built a pool of about 2 million potential respondents recruited since 2004 through Internet advertising. Respondents will register reactions, such as whether the ads made them hopeful or disgusted and whether they were memorable or untruthful. The surveys will include oversamples of 200 independents because "Republicans like Republican ads and Democrats like Democratic ads," Geer said. Results will be posted on the project’s website within 36 hours after Vanderbilt researchers send an ad to YouGov for surveying.

Last night Alec MacGillis listened to the political scientists behind the project talk about Obama's "Firms" ad:

And most effective of all, the researchers found, was Obama’s "America the Beautiful" ad. The unusually strong impact of Obama’s negative ads is not necessarily just a commentary on their quality, but rather a reflection of Romney’s relative lack of definition in the public eye. Since more voters have formed impressions of Obama, ads attacking him seem to have less impact than those attacking Romney. The goal of the Obama campaign, as laid out well by John Heilemann a few weeks ago, is plain: to make Romney an unacceptable alternative at a time when swing voters might be inclined to vote for the Republican out of frustration with the slow economic recovery under Obama.

"The [Obama strategists] have these kinds of data—this is what’s driving the campaign," said Vanderbilt political scientist John Geer. "It’s very much like ’04. The Bush people did not plan, at least if you believe [Bush strategist] Alex Castellanos, Alex says ‘we did not plan to run a super negative campaign. But we found out after a couple of months that we could not move President Bush’s numbers, but we could move Kerry’s.’ So they turned from what they thought would be mix of negative and positive to a very negative campaign because that was the only thing that mattered."

Linette Lopez checks in with Super PAC spending:

According to the report, 26 billionaires (with a combined net worth of $195 billion) have given over $61 million to Super PACs this year. You can get a pdf of the report here, but if you don't want to read all of it, we've got the Wall Streeters listed for you [here].

Lastly, isn't post-partisanship adorable?

Ad War archive here.