Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Voter Enthusiasm

Saw a story linked by InstaPundit about ads driving voter enthusiasm in the Presidential race. The story from the Washington Examiner contains the following: 

"Romney and Obama ads increase the highest level of voter enthusiasm of '08 McCain voters by 13 points--a 42 percent surge in the number of McCain '08 voters who are extremely enthusiastic to vote this year," said Schaeffer. What's more, he said, Obama's ads did not boost Democratic enthusiasm for the president.

Which matches what I've expected: Obama is really polarizing to the opposition. However this study isn't all good news for Romney:

Evolving Strategies and Qualtrics teamed to study reactions of 2,384 voters to seven political ads. They found that Obama ads helped the president increase his vote by 15 percent and pushed down Romney's vote by 18 percent.

Romney's ads, meanwhile, did little to push the vote of Republicans or Democrats. "They are just plain ineffective," he said.

Well that's not so good for Romney! So Obama's ads are goosing enthusiasm for Republicans but not Democrats, but they're also boosting his votes 15% and suppressing Romney's by 18%. The difference must be coming from independents.Romney has generally been doing better among independents in the polls, so this result is kind of interesting.

That said, I still don't much trust poll numbers generally and these specifically. It seems normal to me that the incumbent's ads would boost enthusiasm amongst the opposition in tough times (probably does the opposite when times are good, as in 1984, 1996 or 2004), but I'm having trouble with the idea that Obama can't move his own faithful, but can move Republicans and independents massively. Especially when Romney keeps winning independents in most of the polls I've seen.

I suspect that this poll is just missing something important. 

ASIDE: Note that if the numbers above are true, then the cynic's worst fears about political campaigning, that it is solely about TV ads, is confirmed. Yuck.

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