Campaigns/Elections

Most Negative Campaign Ever? Voters Say: Eh, Not So Much

|

I'll show you negative!

American voters don't share the punditocracy's quadrennial alarm that this is The Most Negative Campaign Season Ever, according to a new Rasmussen poll:

Most voters (55%) say the tone of this year's presidential campaign is about the same as in other recent election years, despite complaints from Barack Obama's side and some in the media that John McCain has been campaigning negatively.

In fact, 20 percent actually think things seem more civilized than usual this time around.

Standards are low, however, as a plurality of voters (41%) say a used car salesman is more ethical than a member of Congress, and both the candidates are, after all, members of Congress.

Via TWS's new blogger Mary Katharine Ham, who urges talking heads to "Try to keep your underclothes unentangled over negative advertising."

Advertisement

NEXT: Good Gun News from Ohio

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Voters Say: Eh, Not So Much

    What do we care what a bunch of donut-eating, warm-smoothie-drinking Candadians think about our election?

  2. What do we care what a bunch of donut-eating, warm-smoothie-drinking Candadians think about our election?

    You’ll care when Tim Horton’s takes over your local Dunkin’ Donuts and turns you into one. Suddenly you’ll be saying “aboot” and eating Mac and Cheese every night for dinner. With ketchup.

    (shudders)

  3. Damn, your McCain photos just kill me. It’s a cheap shot that I chuckle at every time.

  4. Looks like he’s gronking one out in that picture doesn’t it?

  5. I feel vindicated, Kath. Thanks.

    Looks like he’s gronking one out in that picture doesn’t it?

    Like he’s about to join Elvis?

  6. Like he’s about to join Elvis?

    Putting McCain in a nursing home in East Texas sounds like a good idea to me.

  7. Count me as one of those who thinks it’s been pretty tame. Obama, at his nastiest, is still pretty gentle. And McCain is nasty only in a cartoonish way. His tactic of preemptively deflecting criticism by being self deprecating also neuters his legendary nasty edge.

    It’s a pity, really. I love when political campaigns get ugly and ridiculous.

  8. He’s probably having a tiger cage flashback. In case you didn’t know, he spent a few years in a place where they don’t get to listen to Elvis.

  9. I wish this campaign season was about 100 times as negative as it actually has been.

    Negative advertising is an absolute necessity now, since the media simply repeats absurdities as truth, and advertising is the only way to counter them. Consider the fact that even now, when John McCain has demonstrated that he doesn’t know the difference between Shia and Sunni, and can’t even tell you who the President of Spain is two seconds after you tell him the answer yourself, the media continues to portray the McCain campaign as being good on “foreign policy experience”.

    How do you counteract that except with ads that show that McCain is an idiot?

  10. That was one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

  11. It’s hard to go negative when you agree on 99.9996% of policies.

  12. Ska, you are a tasteless peon. NTTAWWT.

  13. You’ll care when Tim Horton’s takes over your local Dunkin’ Donuts and turns you into one.

    Not to start a flame war, but Timmy’s is waaaay better than Dunkin’ Donuts.

    (shudders)

    You think you’re afraid now, but you haven’t been subjected to the horrors of curling. And, for the last time, it’s Kraft Dinner!

  14. The presidential campaign is pretty tame. The real cat fight is the Minnesota Senate campaign. Put on your hip waders, it’s gettin’ mighty deep ’round these parts.

  15. Ska, first, Ska? Anyway, actually one of the best ideas for a story ever and it has Bruce Campbell as Elvis. Seriously, great movie.

    As to the actual point here the most negative thing about this election is the outcome,either way.

  16. Not to start a flame war, but Timmy’s is waaaay better than Dunkin’ Donuts.

    I don’t drink or eat that crap myself, but I have heard this from both Canadians and Americans, so I believe you. Besides, how hard can it be not to be better than DD?

    And, for the last time, it’s Kraft Dinner!

    Right, right, I forgot. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

    (shudders again, bites into leftover basil-cilantro shrimp made last night)

  17. Besides, how hard can it be not to be better than DD?

    Nothing to add…this just bears repeating!

  18. Anyway, actually one of the best ideas for a story ever and it has Bruce Campbell as Elvis. Seriously, great movie

    Tim, I saw the very first opening (besides festival screenings) in downtown Manhattan. Fucking great on the big screen.

  19. I’m sure that Reason would say that Obama ads like this show he’s not qualified for any office outside the Balkans and show just how much he’s willing to lie, if not for the fact that their editor wrote a book about the other guy.

  20. basil-cilantro shrimp made last night

    Yum. My sad little cup of soup looks even sadder now.

    I don’t drink or eat that crap myself

    Under normal circumstances, no. If it’s the only choice other than McDonald’s in a tiny, frozen town in Saskatchewan, coffee and a surprisingly edible sandwich start to look slightly more promising.

    [continues ranting about the preponderance of conferences and tournaments held in Saskatchewan Hell Frozen Over in the winter]

  21. I’m sure that Reason would say that Obama ads like this show he’s not qualified for any office outside the Balkans and show just how much he’s willing to lie, if not for the fact that their editor wrote a book about the other guy.

    I just read the link, and the only part that sounds like it could be a lie to me is the “stupid and uneducated Mexicans” part.

    But it says it’s a Spanish language ad, and I can’t speak Spanish so I don’t know if there is a text difference between “…Mexicans are stupid and uneducated…” and “…stupid and uneducated Mexicans…” when it’s written in Spanish.

  22. Yum. My sad little cup of soup looks even sadder now.

    Here, very simple. Take:

    1-2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 thumbnail-sized piece of ginger root, minced
    1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
    lime zest or juice, either is ok
    1 small jalapeno, de-seeded and chopped

    Put them all in a mortar and mash them together. Then put some oil in saute pan, bring to medium high heat, and throw the mash in for a minute or two. Add:

    1 lb raw peeled shrimp
    a dash of soy sauce

    And cook until the shrimp is cooked and extra liquid is gone (just a few minutes). Turn off the heat and add:

    1 handful fresh basil, torn

    and wilt it. You’re done, enjoy.

  23. From :
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/09/17/politics/p185733D40.DTL&type=politics

    In Elko, Obama tried to anticipate his critics and called on the crowd of about 1,500 to sharpen their elbows, too.

    “I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face,” he said.

    This campaign isn’t negativeenough, so Obama wants his supporters to get in people’s faces.

    From the same article:
    “And if they tell you that, ‘Well, we’re not sure where he stands on guns.’ I want you to say, ‘He believes in the Second Amendment.’ If they tell you, ‘Well, he’s going to raise your taxes,’ you say, ‘No, he’s not, he’s going lower them.’ You are my ambassadors. You guys are the ones who can make the case.”

    Not only does he want his supporters to get in our faces, he wants them to tell lies too.

    A definitely don’t want anyone’s supporter in my face.

  24. Doh, “A definitely” = I def..

  25. It’s a pity, really. I love when political campaigns get ugly and ridiculous.

    It’s a wonderful thing. What’s even more beautiful than a knock down, drag out campaign is when the losers come back after the election to claim the moral high ground. It just renews my faith in humanity.

  26. In a previous comment, I linked to a new Obama ad; after I posted several others got to the story with the ad being called “easily the most vile and deeply dishonest attack ad of this campaign year” (link) and Powerline saying “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more deeply contemptible political ad” (link).

    Even JakeTapper called BHO on it:
    blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/from-the-fact-1.html

    Maybe a team of ghostwriters could be quickly hired to slap together a BHO book, and in that case Reason might consider posting some negative information on him occasionally.

  27. Orange Line Special, you didn’t answer my question about the ad.

    The other statement about Rush is true, even according to the text in your link.

    And besides, Rush isn’t a candidate for office. The stuff Obama says about McCain in the ad is 100% absolutely true. McCain decided to walk away from Latinos in order to cater to the people like you in the GOP. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. So how is an ad that says that anything but absolutely accurate?

  28. Epi, thanks, that sounds delicious.

    Cutting and pasting.

  29. TWC, it’s also fast and easy, the way I like my women dinner.

  30. Negative campaigning goes back to the beginning of our republic, as this proves

  31. “God Damn it, Bill, I’M A FRACKIN’ CYLON!”

  32. News Release

    MattWelch to be added as co-author to several already published anti-BHO books

    Los Angeles (September 18, 2008) – Reason master editor MattWelch has announced that he has reached an agreement to be added as co-author to several already published anti-BHO books. This announcement is expected to make it easier for Reason to offer balanced coverage of the presidential campaign….

  33. When they run an ad as vicious as the 1964 “daisy count down” ad, or the 1968 “laughing Hubert Humphrhey” ad, wake me up and we’ll talk about vicious negative campaign ads.

  34. Dagny T –

    Curling season starts Sunday, yay eh! Americans might not find it so bad when they realize that every curling rink has a bar. Now if only every bar had a curling rink …

  35. I’m part of the 20% who think it’s more civilized this time. Palin was reduced to complaining that Obama was exploiting the crisis on Wall Street, when Obama was doing what any sensible candidate would do. It’s as if Charles Curtis (Hoover’s VP) complained because FDR was exploiting the Great Depression.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.