Monday, June 08, 2009

More about those Tory ads ...

Nanos research did a survey to judge the effectiveness of the Conservative Party's recent slew of attack TV ads and finds in the short term, at least, they have had little impact.

In fact, a majority of Canadians consider the ads ineffective

Interestingly, however, Nanos did find the ads had a "marginally negative impact on the impression of Michael Ignatieff primarily among committed Conservative and NDP voters."

Committed Conservatives, of course, would naturally find the ads persuasive. But what about the NDP? Why did the ads make an impression on socialists?

Well, it's like I noted a few days ago; these ads are primarily appealing to a populist anti-American sentiment, an emotion that runs deep in Canada's left wing.

Is this what the Tories had planned?

Maybe. After all, by playing the anti-American-card in this way, it's possible the Tories could indeed drive leftists out of the Liberal camp and into Jack Layton's arms -- which would be good for the Conservatives.

However, the danger is that such a strategy could also cause many small "c" conservatives -- traditionally more pro-American -- to abandon the Conservative Party.

Indeed, Nanos reports that "50.6% of committed Conservatives believe the ads reflect either somewhat negatively or negatively on the Conservatives."

Turning off your base is never good policy.


Ted Betts said...

"Turning off your base is never good policy."

But that has sort of been Harper's modus operendi ever since he got elected on pretty much every issue.

Anonymous said...

Is Ted the only friend you have left Gerry?


Gerry Nicholls said...

I think my dog still likes me ... maybe.

Anonymous said...

Many believed the ads on Dion "not being a leader" were petty and would ultimately be ineffective, or even damage Harper.

But the campaign was so effective that by the end even the media, including Paul Wells, didn't think Dion was a leader.

Not saying I agree with the practice, but it can be effective over time, especially if it has a ring of truth.
I think most people would prefer if they tried to raise the bar to score points, rather than take the easy way and go negative branding.
We'll see how perceptions have changed after the summer intermission.

Ted Betts said...

There's actually a lot of truth and a lot more untruth about the effectiveness of the Dion ads.

First, some have looked back at the polling and saw either a flattening or slight drop in Dion's support just as the ads were released. Seems they were timed, intentionally or not, to coincide with the end of his honeymoon.

Second, was it the ads that fed the image or the ads that capitalized on the reality? A reality of a weak leader that was reinforced day-in day-out by the helpful media and also by anonymous Liberal insiders.

I would compare these ads to the McCain Ayers ads: a fact from the past, not an ongoing character concern. Yes, Ignatieff was away, but he can't become "more away" with time and you can rest assured he has been, is and will continue to wrap himself around the flag.

So it is not something that gets reinforced over and over and over the way Dion's leadership question did.