By Aaron Blake - 05/30/07 06:51 PM EDT
Two campaign ads feature New Mexico’s Richardson (D), a presidential candidate, in a job interview. In one, the interviewer sums up Richardson’s many experiences in public service, including his roles as governor, energy secretary and congressman, and then as a punchline asks him why he’s qualified to be president. In the second one, the interviewer suggests the governor might be overqualified.
GOPers rated Richardson’s offerings far above average across the board, giving them a 7.2 for their appeal and a 7.6 for their memorability. Respondents are asked to rate the ads in six categories from zero to 10.
Democrats and independents rated the ads even higher, including several marks above 8.0, making them among the best-reviewed ads in the history of the bi-weekly survey.
The ads also scored well among members of the news media, typically the most critical group in the survey, and consultants. Both groups gave the spot marks around 9.0.
The Richardson ads are the kind “that could change a campaign,” Chris Wilson, chief executive of Wilson Research Strategies, said. Wilson cited several other memorable ads from campaigns past, including Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) famous 1984 ad in which bloodhounds went searching for his incumbent opponent after he missed many Senate votes.
“Bill Richardson is in a situation where he’s got to define himself quickly,” Wilson said. “This is the kind of ad that Richardson can put in front of his donors to show that he has the ability to run a serious campaign, that he can change the face of this campaign” to include a four-candidate top tier.
Two other ads tested in the survey appear to have hit their targets as well, even if they failed to garner a comparable bipartisan groundswell.
One ad, which was paid for by VoteVets.org, features former Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste criticizing President Bush for failing to listen to the troops. It was well reviewed by Democrats, who gave it two ratings of 8.5 for strength of message and credibility, and got above-average marks from independents too. Republicans were unimpressed.
The other, a Web video by former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who is weighing a presidential run, responds to a recent request for a debate by liberal documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.
Thompson, holding a cigar, criticizes Moore’s visit to Cuba and suggests he might need to check into a mental institution. Republicans gave it around a 7.0, across the board, but independents and Democrats rated it below average.
Another ad, in which Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) attempts to establish himself as a leader on getting a withdrawal timetable for the Iraq war, was greeted lukewarmly by Democrats and independents, though slightly above average.
When comparing all the ads, nearly six in 10 Republicans said Richardson’s were the most effective, while 32 percent said Thompson’s was.
Working with The Hill for its Air War feature, Wilson Research Strategies e-mails campaign or issue ads to survey participants who view the ads and rate their effectiveness on several criteria.