THE INTERLUDE: I recently attended the Midwest Political Science Association Conference. Briefly, our study (with Anthony Daniels) employs a game theory framework to compare candidate responses to negative media frames. Using data from the Jeremiah Wright, Swift Boat, and National Guard media frames, this study finds that agency matters.
So I went to ANES and got their question relating to 47% (did you take Romney’s 47% comment in the voting booth with you) and ran some regression. The comment was only taken in by Democrats. Hence, Romney, through his 1 minute “content” commercial spot, which aired in all 50 states, got people to move on… or the issue simply wasn’t salient and perhaps Romney should have spent money elsewhere.
Let’s recall Romney’s 1 minute primetime ad. spot; which aired simultaneously around America at 10am, local time, eight days after the story broke: “My fellow Americans, todays political conversations are focusing on my 47% comment. First, I’m sorry that I said that 47% of Americans are dependent upon government, are victims, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing… Now, here’s my role as your candidate for President. Entitlement reform starts with me! If the government provides everything for you, then government has the power to take it all away. Bigger government means less freedom. As your Republican candidate, I will organize public policy which helps Americans to become more independent–to have more freedom. In the next month, I will give a few examples of what entitlement reform could be on my website. For example, unemployment recipients should be doing community service while they collect. Thanks. I’m sorry about the comment. God Bless!”
As we know, even MSNBC praised the ad. Even though it’s hard to see how the comments worked in polls–since voters vote for different reasons–we know that 47% stayed out of the voting booth for Republicans and Independents. This is important, and it fits nicely as evidence for me and Anthony’s MPSA Paper.
THE POINT: To what degree can a political candidate increase his or her chances of winning election in campaigns? And, how exactly do they best increase their chance to win election? The above speech is what I expected Romney to do and say after the 47% remark didn’t go away. Of course, his actions were quite different. SuperPacs should consider this post when their candidate is being attacked by a negative media frame. Oh yea, and candidate’s too.