The Thing About Going Negative

It hurts you too:

As expected, one of the two major Democratic candidates saw a downturn in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, but it’s not the candidate that you think. Hillary Clinton is sporting the lowest personal ratings of the campaign. Moreover, her 37 percent positive rating is the lowest the NBC/WSJ poll has recorded since March 2001, two months after she was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York.

Here’s one of the most basic rules of campaigning.  Negative campaigning hurts your opponent, but it also hurts you.  Your hope is that it hurts your opponent more, but there is one big problem for some candidates. If your unfavorability is already higher, your unfavorability might drop enough so the other candidate still stays on top.  I e-mailed this to a friend probably a month ago in saying how she couldn’t go too negative. Of course, she can go that negative, it’s just not going to help her win.

Congratulations Clinton camp–you screwed yourselves and the party.

For those ranting about new polling showing Obama falling in some states, both are falling and will continue to fall as long as this crap continues.

5 thoughts on “The Thing About Going Negative

  1. AP,

    The Clinton campaign is like a chess-playing child who has been checkmated. They have swept the board and the pieces off the table and onto the floor. Their hope is that the board will land on the floor with the pieces arranged in such a way that they would be in a position to win the game. The probability of this tantrum gambit working is nigh null. If it were executed from now until the heat death of the universe, it would probably never pay off.

    But that laughably infinitesimal chance — upending the contest and crossing their fingers — is the Clinton campaign’s only hope now that they have been mathematically eliminated.

    Note: I can also do an analogy about a professional wrestler drawing a double disqualification if would prefer to go the low-brow route.

    — SCAM
    so-called “Austin Mayor”

  2. SCAM,

    You overstate the case mightily. The Clintons may be acting petulantly, but your metaphor is tortured at least.

    If we stick to the rules, then superdelegates can vote for whomever they want for whatever reason they want: thems the rules. WE may have ethical issues with superdelegates going against the “popular will” (which we can measure in only one way, really: popular vote totals, since delegates are apportioned by a variety of different methods, and often weighted in non-democratic ways), but that doesn’t have anything to do with the rules.

    “Coup by superdelegate” is a clever “frame” (which we’re all so in love with these days) but it has nothing to do with reality or the rules.

    The Clintons are behaving badly, but there’s no need to excite yourself into fits of analogy. Besides: our guy has it in the bag, and no amount of whining can stop him if he is indeed the strong candidate we believe he is.

  3. “there’s no need to excite yourself into fits of analogy”

    The Clintons are claiming that she is The Candidate because the states she won have more votes in the electoral college — the only metric by which she could possibly be seen as winning — and **I’m** accused of bad analogies?

    — SCAM
    so-called “Austin Mayor”

  4. You guys are too transparant; your line is stick to the rules so you can exclude Florida and Michigan. If Obama had won those states, you’d say just the opposite. Likewise, you also rely on undemocratic caucuses. But FlA and MI should be counted. Those voters have a right to be heard, regardless of which official signed what arbitrary procedure. What’s most sad in all this has been watching ya’ll copy the media’s shallow, childish insults, and sneer at the most skilled, accomplished, and knowledgeable democrats of our time.

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