2010 presidential campaign – are negative campaign tv ads next?
we are approaching the final stretch of the election campaign. that may sound strange to read considering the official campaign period started just weeks ago but that is the official start which none of the presidentiables actually followed. the unofficial campaign period started many months ago, last year. ask manny villar about it and he will certainly confirm it.
being in the last stretch, the election less than four months from now, voters are firming up their choices. the point of no return for candidates is when voters finally make their choices.
to uncork that decision, candidates need to ramp up their efforts – advertising rallies and media exposure or launch negative ads against their opponents.
we have seen negative campaigning already, we hear the candidates comment on their opponent’s skills, qualifications, record or scandals they have been or are involved in. many of them are still on hush-hush tones, the names of the particular presidentiable they are attacking not mentioned in their speeches, although we know who they are. some a little more blatant which we witness during presidential “debates” or forum where presidentiables address other presidentiables on issues or scandals.
richard gordon’s version of negative campaigning, no names mentioned:
The standard-bearer of the Bagumbayan-Volunteers party said, referring to the other presidential aspirants: “There is someone who is very intelligent but who has no experience. There is a very rich man who will just recoup his campaign expenses if he wins. And there is someone who just inherited a good name.”
that is still the mild form. in the US, negative ads is a regular staple during the election. based on the US experience, negative ads do work although in degrees. negative ads serve to stop the momentum the candidate being attacked is enjoying, it is like a pause button on your opponents.
however, negative ads do not work for the long term and one cannot do just negative ads. doing it exclusively and for a long time tends to backfire on the candidate releasing the negative ads.
looking at the poll results, we see voters firming up on two presidentiables – aquino and gordon with estrada as a distant dark horse. everyone else in the group based on the current results do not seem to have a chance at winning the election. next to the top three presidentiables is administration candidate gilbert teodoro but his rating of 4% to 5% has not moved across all the surveys conducted so far. his ratings not showing any life of upward movement says he is stalled at that level. teodoro is unable to get any more supporters.
on the other hand, the poll results of the top three presidentiables seem to be getting very fluid. we now see aquino, the erstwhile dominant front runner moving down and the 2nd placer, manny villar moving up to a level where in one poll villar has reached a statistical tie with aquino.
estrada’s rating used to be constant at 15%, no matter what happened to the candidates at the top or the bottom. but this is no longer true in the latest polls. while it is not correct to read trends using two different polls, estrada’s 11% showing in the TNS poll seem to indicate estrada supporters are starting to abandon him.
the presidentiables should take this fluid movement in a good light. that means the voters are vulnerable to switching to some degree. to increase the speed of that movement, the presidentiables can go into negative ads. the positive ads they have been running, ads that extol their positive side, has resulted only to marginal movements. perhaps negative ads, those that speak of the weaknesses of other presidentiables might speed up the movements.
except for marcos, negative political ads have not been done in the philippines before in the manner and form that it has been done in the US. with so much at stake and with the top two presidentiables positions firming up, perhaps negative ads is the only way left to go for some of the presidentiables who are trailing in the polls.
are we ready for negative ads?