Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One of these ads is not like the other

One of these ads is not like the other. Can you figure out which one?

Bob Shamansky: ad 1
Dave Loebsack: ad 1
Alice Kryzan: ad 1 and ad 2

Give up? The difference is that Bob Shamansky lost 57%-43%, while Dave Loebsack won in a major upset over Jim Leach in 2006, and Alice Kryzan won her primary in a moderate upset against Jon Powers and Jack Davis yesterday.

While most of the time, ads aren't necessarily that effective, the right ad can in fact be devastating. However, no matter how snappy or funny it is, you have to have the right opening. Apparently, a humorous ad tying Pat Tiberi to George Bush didn't cut for Shamansky.

While most of the political pundits dismissed Loebsack's ad as "A race so civil the challenger's ad calls the incumbent a good man", as someone living in IA-02 in 2006 I thought it was a brutally effective ad. Jim Leach was an incredibly well-liked incumbent, and George Bush was incredibly unliked. It tied the two together in a way that would be nearly impossible to rebut. For other context, Jim Leach threatened to bolt the GOP if they came in with 3rd party ads, said "This is the happiest day of my life" in his concession speech, and endorsed Obama at the DNC.

And in a race as horribly nasty as NY-26 this year, it's very effective to push through with one or two showings of an ad to get people to do something else. When you're running against someone as horrible as Jack Davis, and Jack is determined to destroy your other opponent, it's pretty easy to get through this way.

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