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Obama’s “Celebrity” Counterattack Deemed Ineffective

- August 18, 2008

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Consistent with their tit-for-tat strategy of firing back whenever their candidate is attacked, the Obama campaign answered the highly publicized ad portraying Obama as a “celebrity” by producing one of their own that portrayed McCain as a celebrity.

Results just released by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion indicate that Obama’s response ad didn’t move opinions at all.

The 300 participants in a “national focus group” (I’m not sure exactly what that means) assessed the believability of the ad by scrolling their computer mouse along a believability continuum, and their responses were recorded every quarter of a second. To see these responses as they played out while the ad was playing, click here.

Obviously, responses varied according to the party identification of the respondents, but the broader message was that Obama got no immediate bump from the ad. Before viewing the ad, 74% of the Democrats who participated in the study said they were going to vote for Obama; afterwards, it was still 74%. Among both Republicans and independents, the observed changes were too small to be taken seriously.

As the conventions approach, the media are beginning to report that the Obama campaign may be setting out on a more aggressive approach than it has been pursuing to this point. Instead of concentrating on answering attacks, it looks like they’re gearing up to launch some bombs of their own.