Negative Campaign Backlash?
"I was the middle-of-the-road voter," Murray said in between bites of a hummus salad at The Mall at Short Hills. "I was the one who could be swayed."Not convinced? Parks uses quotes from a Seton Hall University political scientist and unnamed pundits, along with a reference to exit polling to give credence to his theory.
Except, Murray said, all she heard were attack ads from Kean and another candidate she was considering, her 7th District congressman, Mike Ferguson.
"All the negative campaigning really got to me," she said. "I thought the ads were so ridiculous, it made me vote against whoever was running them."
"That's a safe Republican district. It never should have been as close as it was," said Joe Marbach, a Seton Hall University political scientist. "Most of the time congressional incumbents seek to marginalize their opponents. Mike Ferguson chose a campaign strategy that ended up giving Linda Stender great name recognition."Does any of this prove negative ads ended up backfiring against Kean who lost or Ferguson who won?
And pundits who followed two of the closest races -- the Senate and the 7th District -- say a slew of negative ads ended up backfiring against the candidates who ran them.
What's more, exit polling done by students at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University found significant dissatisfaction with Ferguson. Nearly half of all Stender votes were, in fact, protest votes -- 45 percent of Stender voters said they were voting against Ferguson.
And while the poll did not ask a specific question about the "Stender is a spender" slogan, Marbach said there was little question it backfired.Little question? Based upon what, no data and personal opinion? Perhaps it was the “doubling-dipping pension padder, too” part of the “Stender the Spender” slogan that resonated with voters, who knows. It could have been the Dump Mike blog, a year of “robo calls” and the 20 months of negative campaigning against Ferguson that cost Stender the election or made the race as close as it was.
Another article in the Ledger, Exit poll offers clues to Stender's defeat, would tend to discredit the “nasty backlash” theory, at least as it applies to the Ferguson campaign ads. This article quotes the Rutgers University political science professor Jane Junn, who conducted the exit poll:
Slightly more than 80 percent of those voting for Ferguson said they were voting for him, while 55 percent of those voting for Stender said they were voting for her.Parks and Marbach must have flushed down the memory hole the way Linda Stender conducted her campaign – it was all negative. She began by calling the President a liar and informing voters her first priority would be a vote on impeachment. Forgotten is the Linda Stender for Congress mailer based on an old gossip column that ABC News called “false and fabricated”.
The number one reason Democrats gave for going to vote on Tuesday was "party control of congress."
Looked at it another way, Junn said, 45 percent of those voting for Stender were saying they were "voting for anyone but Ferguson," which also reflected the depth to which national issues and Ferguson's alliance with President Bush was playing out at the polls.
The first myth shattered by the students' exit polling was that Republican women would cross party lines to support Stender. It didn't happen, Junn said.
Women who considered themselves independents were split right down the middle, 50-50; it was actually independent men who were somewhat more likely to go for Stender by a margin of 52-48, Junn said.
Now take a look at Linda Stender’s campaign website, it is all negative:
FERGUSON UNWILLING TO RELINQUISH HIS RUBBER STAMPLinda Stender ran a negative campaign because it was the only way she could have won. She nearly did. Bob Menendez ran a negative campaign and won – “Standing Up” - against Bush, against Iraq, against “privatization” of Social Security, against oil companies – against, against, against.
STENDER CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES WHYMIKEWHY.COM
FERGUSON’S VOTES = HIGHER GAS PRICES
FERGUSON BETRAYS PUBLIC EDUCATION
FERGUSON HURTING SENIORS WITH HIS VOTES ON SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
STENDER CAMPAIGN BEGINS AIRING RADIO AD WHERE TEEN WITH JUVENILE DIABETES SAYS FERGUSON REFUSED TO DISCUSS STEM CELL RESEARCH
FERGUSON'S TIES TO LAW FIRM HIRED TO DEFEND HEWLETT PACKARD DISTURBING
FERGUSON SHOULD DEMAND INVESTIGATION OF HASTERT/FOLEY CONNECTION
TRICK OR TREAT: THE SCARY TRUTH OF MIKE FERGUSON'S TOXIC LEGACY
Kean and Ferguson also ran against. Kean against political corruption and tax increases. Ferguson against a tax and spender who just happened to be a “double-dipping pension padder, too”. Maybe the jingle and slogan worked.