It’s certainly nothing new except there is more polling data available than years ago in telling candidates and their handlers that many voters already have made up their minds who to vote for and which issues they support. When you have a high percentage of voters who have their minds made up months before an election, can advertising change minds?
The answer undoubtedly would be a yes in a small degree, and no with the majority of those whose minds are made up. Because of the negative ads, many voters get fed up with them and cease to read, look or hear them in the different media attacks.
The target in much advertising is on the number of voters who are undecided.
The Wall Street Journal in a report Friday said the pool of undecided voters is small, as few as 5 percent in the presidential race. The focus now is on mobilizing the supporters for a large turnout at the polls. In other words, there is less focus on the undecided voter and more on getting the candidates’ supporters to vote.
Recharge the supporters is the plan. Even though people may have made up their minds, it’s known that some eligible voters for whatever reason don’t show up at the polls.
Many of the private polls taken by a candidate’s camp are never made public. Victorious and defeated candidates after an election will tell you about their private polls and “we knew on Election Day” what our chances were. Usually, those types of comments are “off the record.”
Polls can be wrong but they have been accurate in many elections.
Many of the comments are criticism about a candidate rather than beating the drums for one of them. This is especially true when incumbents are seeking re-election.
In the presidential race, we do believe there is a small percentage of voters who are undecided.