While several Democratic candidates are working to distance themselves from an increasingly unpopular administration, Democratic voters nationwide still respond better to an endorsement from President Obama than one from former President Bill Clinton, according to just-released research from maslansky luntz + partners and Roy Morgan Research
Additionally, Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's "I'm not a witch" ad scores well not only with Republicans but with independents and even some Democrats. And the strongest line of the week comes from Democratic Congressional candidate Bobby Bright of Kentucky whose claim of being "the most independent member of congress" resonated with voters from all parties nationwide.
We tested eight political TV ads using The Reactor, a technology that taps into voters' emotional responses to understand exactly how voters feel when they view ads and hear political messages. This week's test was conducted with 532 Democrats, Independents and Republicans from around the country to gauge voters' second-to-second, gut reactions.
Note: while the ads tested were for local Congressional and Senate races, they were tested with voters across the country and thus reflect national political sentiment.
Ads, along with second-by-second voter responses displayed graphically, can be viewed at:
Obama vs. (Bill) Clinton -- (Obama still wins). Though there are plenty of people who would probably love to see this electoral match-up so we chose to compare the impact of their endorsements on voter attitudes.
"I didn't go to Yale." Neither did you, according to Republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. In her second ad speaking into camera, O'Donnell positions herself against her Yale educated, wealthy opponent and succeeds with voters across the political spectrum.
Dems overshoot the mark in attacking their own party. We tested four ads from Democratic candidates trying to distance themselves from their own party. Though each was effective in driving positive reactions from Conservatives, these ads did nothing to move the middle. Here's what worked and what didn't.
"Independent" is in. The single most effective line in the anti-dem ads from Democrats was from Bobby Bright of Kentucky. Though it is no surprise that saying "I am the most independent member of Congress" would work with Independents, this line also got positive marks from Democrats and Republicans - virtually the only one in the ads we tested.
This research is part of an ongoing collaboration between maslansky luntz + partners and Roy Morgan Research to monitor Americans' reactions to a range of political ads during the run-up to the midterm elections. The Reactor is Roy Morgan Research's proprietary online research tool designed to measure respondents' continuous reactions to ads.
More to come. We expect the next update to be out next week. If you would like to see the results of these and similar research studies, just sign up on our site.
Michael Maslansky (@m_mas) is CEO of maslansky luntz + partners, a language strategy and research firm, and author of The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics.
Follow Michael Maslansky on Twitter: www.twitter.com/m_mas