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Attention GOP candidates: There is no need, this year, to load up negative ads with adjectives painting your opponents as evil big spenders in the thrall of the Washington establishment. The simple facts of your opponents’ voting records are enough to defeat them. Just the facts, ma’am.
Republican negative ad writers always delight in describing the stimulus package as bloated, wasteful, government-growing and useless. The adjectives get in the way. The polling we’ve done indicates that the simple words “stimulus package” convey all that and more.
There is no need to call Barack Obama’s health care legislation “a government attempt to take over our health care” or a bill to “slash medical care for the elderly” or an “attempt to force rationing of care.” The simple word Obamacare conveys the same meanings.
Why describe cap and trade as “job killing” or “driving jobs overseas” when the words cap and trade say these same things to voters?
Ads are effective for the response they elicit from the viewers. The more they catalyze a response inside the mind of the voter, the more effective they are. Ads that are heavy on adjectives and have the look and feel of an attack ad run into credibility problems with the average voter. One rebels against a heavy-handed attack, and you find yourself fighting against the ad, even if you basically believe it to be true. The more even-handed and credible the ad is, the more it will be believed.
It is the beauty of the 2010 election year that ads that are prosaic, simple, straightforward and factual will do much better than those that are loaded up with negative adjectives and blood-dripping depictions of big-spenders who believe in big government.
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