Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Fear Factor Failing?

Lorne Gunter offers a word of caution about the polls and the effects the Liberals' current over-the-top negative TV ads may have on apathetic, undecided voters:

But my guess is most current undecideds are people paying only half attention, who have good intentions of getting informed before they vote, but who won't manage to find the time. They'll vote anyway, because they think they should, but when they do they'll have little more than a superficial understanding of what's at stake.

And as a result, they'll vote Liberal.

Liberal is the safe vote. It's the status-quo, stay-the-course vote. And the Liberals know it. They are counting on the one-eye-open voters' support. That's why they launched a new round of Stephen-Harper-is-really-scary ads today. They know that if they can introduce even the slightest fear of change into last-minute voters they can spook them into remaining Liberal.

There will always be an irreducible number of voters who can be frightened into voting Liberal, no matter how badly the Liberals are trailing or their public image is suffering.

And to be fair, the same tactics Gunter describes worked the last time.

Those ads would have led Martin to a majority in 2004.

But this is not 2004. The Liberals have overplayed all of their hands--the "hidden agenda", the "scary" theme, etc. etc.--through overuse.

The buzz about the ads on the street is not what they say, but that the Liberals had to pull one because it was so insulting to the armed forces. One tainted ad will taint all the rest and reduce their effects accordingly.

The Liberals learned nothing from the 2004 campaign except to congratulate each other on their tactical and strategic brilliance. Hence their repeated campaign missteps.

The Conservatives, on the other hand, retooled everything from top to bottom.

Now we're seeing the difference.

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