After weeks of negative campaign ads by both the Obama and Romney teams, a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows voters’ opinions of both men are souring. The poll shows that while the negative campaign ads against their opponents have worked, the favorability rating of each candidate has decreased.
Presumably, in response to the poll, the Obama and Romney campaigns briefly pivoted this week to optimistic ads and positive portrayals of their candidate, but the latest Obama ad shows that this gentle touch may soon be abandoned as Romney is compared to a "felon" in the ad.
The first positive campaign ad to counter the poll was released by the Obama campaign. A television ad titled "I believe," released last Friday to air during the 2012 Olympic Games, emphasizes the middle class and working-class families and features clips of the president speaking to a cheering crowd.
“We're a nation of workers and doers and dreamers,” Obama tells the crowd, “We work hard for what we get. And all we ask for is that our hard work pays off. I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out. I believe in fighting for the middle class because if they're prospering all of us will prosper. That's the idea of America and that's why America is the greatest nation on earth."
That last point is a bit odd, coming from a man whose views on American exceptionalism are a bit hazy.
In another campaign ad, this one released Monday, Obama speaks warmly and directly at voters. He mentions Romney, but the ad remains positive.
"Over the next four months, you have a choice to make," Obama says in the positive ad. "Not just between two political parties, or even two people. It’s a choice between two very different plans for our country."
The Romney campaign followed suit, releasing a new ad on Tuesday that focuses on the governor’s record and accomplishments as a business owner at Bain Capital, his tenure leading the Salt Lake City Games, and his term as governor of Massachusetts.
Apparently driving a pickup truck and not looking at the camera, Romney tells the viewer, “I know what it’s like to hire people and to wonder whether you’re going to be able to make ends meet down the road. Freedom and free enterprise are what create jobs, not government.”
But the presidential candidates haven’t put their boxing gloves away altogether, as President Obama has just released another negative ad.
Yesterday, the Obama campaign rehashed the question of Romney and his tax returns, releasing an ad Tuesday, titled “Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns: When Will He Come Clean?” The weak video implicitly compares Romney to a “felon,” and uses the term in a graphic just 17 seconds into the video.
Team Obama has used this character attack on Romney before; last month, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said that Romney was either a liar or a felon.
So despite the surge in positive ads, old habits die hard.
We await Romney's retaliation.