Can you see the messaging effect?
Over the past month or two, Democrats tried a variety of new messaging strategies to shake up the election. President Obama became, at least for a time, more partisan and confrontational in an effort to fire up the base. Secret money and the Chamber of Commerce became dominant themes in the Democratic argument. And to what end?
You can't run the counterfactual here, of course. Maybe other messages would've lost ground for the Democrats. Maybe the perfect combination of communication strategies would've secured more statistically significant improvements. But I doubt it.
In an environment where both parties have highly paid strategists running endless focus groups and polls, neither is likely to really outmaneuver the other in the "what voters want to hear" category. Outside events -- something happens in the world, or in a race -- can shake things up, and ground game can help at the margins, but that's about it. The problem is, outside events aren't controlled by campaigns and ground games are largely invisible until the day of the election. So all eyes are on the messages because, well, that's all there is to look at.
| October 26, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories: 2010 Midterms
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