By Chris Ingram
Between the two of them, Rick Scott and Charlie Crist and their respective allies have already spent over $50 million to sway voters’ attitudes — mostly through 30-second television ads that no Floridian is safe from viewing.
By some reports, their ad spending has amounted to nearly 100,000 commercials that have run throughout the state, and there are still three weeks before Election Day. The volume of ads will only increase until then.
Television viewers are no doubt sick of the spots, with most of them being negative, with ominous-sounding music, dark images, and claims of how bad the other guy is.
Despite the fact that voters say they don’t like all the negativity, campaigns from coast to coast “go negative” because it works. It works by suppressing the vote when those ads cause voters to say, “I’m so sick of the political ads, I’m not going to vote.”
The hope of the candidate who is airing the ad is that more of his opponent’s voters are going to take that view than his own voters will. The more frequently the negative ads run, the more impressions are made, and thus the more likely that will occur.
This also explains why the candidate with more money is more likely to win. Because more money means more ad impressions.
Yes, voter suppression is alive and well, and both parties do it. And, no, it has nothing to do with racial issues.
Of course, the ads we see are often misleading, sometimes they are flat-out lies, and every now and then they are even embarrassing — to the campaign that is running them (as was the case two times this year when Rick Scott’s campaign had to pull its own ads — one that featured a convicted fraudster, and another featuring a Tampa man with a conviction for human trafficking). Ouch!
But those mistakes happen, and can be forgiven.
What can’t be forgiven is when a campaign runs an ad making a completely false statement. Such as a Scott ad currently airing that says Charlie Crist is corrupt.
Now let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don’t like Charlie Crist.
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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