Back in early September we discussed the Nevada campaign and the ads that were being run (specifically, the negative tone). What we didn’t answer at the time was this….did it work? The answer for both candidates is a resounding yes (albeit more so for Senator Reid).
Over the course of the general election Republican Senate nominee Sharon Angle ran a large amount of negative ads (these spots ranged “Public Servant” to “Stupid Things Harry Says”). And these spots worked. According to the last poll of the general election Angle’s negative assault on Senate Majority Leader kept Reid’s approval rating at a net -13. And on election Angle’s negative campaign cut Reid’s margin of victory by almost twenty points. According to the exit polling, Angle made an eight point gain among liberal voters cutting into Reids base.
Unfortunately for Assemblywoman Angle, Reid’s equally negative campaign was even more effective. At the start of the General election Angle had a net +3 approval rating. Reid, however, by running adds ranging from “Extreme” to “Angle’s Extreme and Dangerous Education Agenda” was able to tear Assemblywoman Angle to pieces. By the end of the campaign angle had a net favorable rating of -9. This represents a 12 point Swing in her positive/negative.
What this shows is that a right punch followed up by a left uppercut does work. For all the complaints about negative advertising it works.