Friday, November 02, 2007

We Have Nothing Positive To Offer

It's hard to keep track, but if memory serves the new Conservative attack ads are the fifth installment. For those keeping score, the Conservatives have yet to release ONE positive ad, highlighting their supposed accomplishments, the record of good government. Apparently, the ads are set to run this weekend, during some high profile NFL games, among other placements.

The ads focus on Dion and his recent remarks on the GST. The ads are the typical amateurish stuff we have become accustomed to, with a healthy dose of negativism. The ads will re-inforce two themes- one, that Dion "is not a leader" and two, that the Conservatives are a mean-spirited bunch. When you look at what demographics the Conservatives need to improve in, particularly support amongst women, attack ads might not pay dividends. Pardon the lack of a link, but I remember some polling that showed women are less responsive to negative politics, in fact it can be a turnoff.

While the Conservatives did get some traction with their first set of attacks ads, the last couple rounds didn't seem to move the numbers, in any substantive way. I would argue that this pattern of pure negativism, without the accompanying positive message is a risky proposition. When you think about it, what a terrific opportunity for the Conservatives to release a series of ads, highlighting their very popular tax package, or their crime bill, etc, etc. Quite curious that this government never seems to have anything good to say, it's just a steady diet of anti-Dion, anti-Liberal smears. Then again, these "new" Conservatives are primarily a contrarian entity, light on ideas, most of their passion built around despising the Liberals.

I'll say it again, the Conservatives frame themselves, as much as the Liberals, with these typical ads, that get older with every new installment.


ottlib said...

You do have to wonder when the Law of Diminishing Returns is going to kick in do you not?

Tomm said...

I too wonder about the law of diminishing returns.

Granted, Dion publicly musing about jacking up the GST back to 7% was likely just too big a beachball not to take the bat out and swing for the fences...

But still they should ease up and let the LPC deal with their leader.


Steve V said...

"But still they should ease up and let the LPC deal with their leader."

The Liberals are getting hammered in the media, why pile on now and feed the "bully" label?

Tomm said...



The Tories getting benefit from this is questionable. And even if they do, it looks like "piling on".


Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I think this is like the boy crying wolf. Initially they can be quite effective, but each time you do it, people start tuning them out so their effect is less and less and eventually it may even make the party look desperate.

The attack ads against the Tories in 2004 by the Liberals worked because they were brought out only 2 weeks before the election and the Tories were unable to respond back. In 2006, they tried the same tactic, but it failed since people had seen it before. The same will happen to the Tories.

Steve V said...

"Initially they can be quite effective, but each time you do it, people start tuning them out so their effect is less and less"

There was some truth to this in the Ontario election, that was lost in the school issue. Now this is all anecedotal, but it seemed that Tory's negative ad barrage didn't work. Negative ads can be effective, but you need a balance, something which Conservative parties don't seem to understand these days.

ottlib said...

It is interesting that after the last budget the Conservatives looked like they might break the 40% mark and stay there awhile.

And then the released another round of attack ads and their support dropped.


Anonymous said...

"Stephen Harper.

He has nothing to offer so he runs more and more attack ads.

Stephen Harper.

He can't run a country.

He only knows how to run attack ads.

Stephen Harper has nothing to offer."

burlivespipe said...

Real class, these CONs.
If anything, this gives Dion the opportunity to frame his error by explaining it, not just as a one-off. In an election campaign, that boner may have sunk the ship, but many people have heard the logic and are musing publicly that the GST cuts are a trifle and not an economic stimulant that Flathery would have you believe.
This seems to be more stephen Harper being 'Stephen Harper', stomping into some dogpoop that just sticks to his shoe. Of course we could be wrong and this time there's an gusher from the floodgates, but if this crew can't get a half-ass bounce from that mini-budget, they might as well start the inter-party revolt right now.
But back to the economy. I saw how some experts, mainly TD economist, mused how so many public service jobs were created last month, and virtually no private sector jobs. That makes the jobless rate numbers a mystery, and with our overheated dollar, high trade deficit and that we're sleeping beside a dispeptic elephant, I'm not so sure Harper's rosey spending this past week can sustain another big hit without breaching the banks of deficit city. Of course, how long have people been saying 'This can't sustain itself' re. the good times?

Steve V said...

"This seems to be more stephen Harper being 'Stephen Harper'"

I saw some clips of his press scrum yesterday, and Harper didn't come off well at all. Mean-spirited and threatening, his instincts betray the packaging, which is probably why they need such tight message control.

Anonymous said...

it does help change the channel from the myriad Conservative scandals: "look over there: raise gst, defend double-murderers, not a leader liberals!!!" booga booga. can't see any other logical reason for it really.