The survey, conducted by Wilson Research Strategies for The Hill, shows McDonnell’s ad scoring a 6.6 out of 10 among Republicans, but only a lukewarm 5.3 among independents and a 5 among Democrats.
The ad scored better for its credibility and appeal than for its buzzworthiness, and reviewers thought it had a strong message.
McDonnell has seen Democrat Creigh Deeds claw back into the race since the thesis became an issue, with some polling suggesting the thesis has galvanized Democratic voters to turn out in the race, which is just more than one month away.
Meanwhile, a Democratic National Committee (DNC) ad that was pulled for claiming Republicans want to kill Medicare wasn’t doing Democrats much good.
The DNC ad received a subpar rating of 5 out of 10 among members of its own party, and scored very low among Republicans and independents.
The ad targeted 10 congressional Republicans, but was pulled in several districts by Time Warner Cable earlier this month.
Conversely, an ad against another GOP incumbent hit its mark in Utah.
In that race, the conservative Club for Growth is weighing whether to get involved in a primary between Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R). The Club has been hypercritical of Bennett’s healthcare proposal, labeling it “government-run healthcare.”
The ad was accompanied by letters to delegates who will nominate Senate candidates at a party convention next year. It shows a computer screen mock-up of Bennett’s website and focuses on the supposed big-government aspects of his bill.
It scored a 6.3 out of 10 among Republicans, which is the targeted group. It got particularly high marks for it strong message, receiving a 6.8 out of 10 on that measure.
In other ads tested, an ad for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) that suggests opponent Chris Christie (R) used political favors to get his brother out of trouble scored an above-average 5.4 overall, and a Patients United Now ad featuring a Canadian woman who came to the United States for healthcare got a 5.8.
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.