Is the window closing to change election outcomes?

Campaigns are gearing up for the stretch run, and local TV stations are prearing to get rich off the last month of political ads but, with the election still five weeks (minus one day) away, politics guru Stu Rothenberg argues in a piece today that “most campaigns have only another week or two to change the likely outcome of their contests.”

Many political scientists question whether campaigns really have much to do with the outcomes at all, compared with factors like the economy that create the psychological and emotional architecture of campaign years. But Rothenberg is making a closer to the ground argument. One factor is early voting, which is allowed in more and more states and puts a significant number of voters beyond the reach of persuasion for the simple reason that they’ve already voted.

And a politics-weary public will appreciate Rothenberg’s argument that:

“The sheer number of TV spots, direct-mail pieces and automated telephone calls received by voters in the last month before an election can cause voters to ‘turn off’ completely, ignoring political campaign messages as if they were some sort of unwanted media spam that is immediately destined to be deleted.”

Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 09/29/2010 - 10:05 am.

    David Schultz says Horner’s window of opportunity has already closed –

    http://schultzstake.blogspot.com/2010/09/on-horner-of-dilemma-fading-prospects.html

    Nate Silver is saying Horner’s chance of being elected governor is ZERO percent –

    http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/forecasts/governor/minnesota

  2. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 09/29/2010 - 10:17 am.

    Horner’s last hope is Emmer or Dayton implodes with a Jon Grunseth type revelation. I think Horner has peaked unless he can climb above Emmer.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/29/2010 - 10:58 am.

    “The sheer number of TV spots, direct-mail pieces and automated telephone calls received by voters in the last month before an election can cause voters to ‘turn off’ completely, ignoring political campaign messages as if they were some sort of unwanted media spam that is immediately destined to be deleted.”

    Count me among those voters.

    The only problem (for me) with Rothenberg’s last statement is the inclusion of the phrase, “…as if they were some sort of media spam….” From my perspective, “…as if…” is laughably inappropriate. Campaign ads, especially on television, ARE and personify “media spam,” and I do my best to ignore/delete them wherever they appear, regardless of whether I support the candidate or issue being advertised or not. Sound bytes in a 30-second TV spot do nothing to explain the candidate’s policy positions, or similarly explain the nuts and bolts of a tax or other policy proposal. The appeal – surely the result of plenty of market research – is always to emotion, or prejudice, or both.

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