Early Negative Ads Provide Obama's Edge

By Charlie Cook, National Journal - November 2, 2012

America faces two general elections. One is occurring in seven or so swing states, where voters have experienced saturation advertising"”mostly negative"”since mid-June. The total-immersion process in these states has made this a very different campaign from that experienced by voters in the 40-odd other states who have witnessed this election from afar, largely through national news. It should be no surprise that voters in those two distinct groups should be behaving differently.

In the states that have experienced the minimalist campaign, the popular-vote numbers are even or maybe up for Republican nominee Mitt Romney by a bit. For people who live there, the campaign effectively started with the first debate. Many undecided voters were pleasantly surprised by Romney, who presented himself as moderate, reasonable, intelligent, and earnest. He also came across as more of a problem-solver than the ideological robot voters had seen earlier in the campaign through their binoculars.

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