“Evaluating the Ads” takes us to Maine where there is a three-way race for Governor. Governor Paul LePage (R) is running for re-election against Congressman Mike Michaud (D) and attorney Eliot Cutler (I). This race involves a rematch of sorts as LePage and Cutler vied for the same seat four years ago.
The following is an ad for Governor LePage.
What do you think the purpose is for using Democratic and Independent voters in an ad for a Republican candidate?
Here is Congressman Michaud’s ad.
What can be inferred from the ad about Governor LePage?
In the following ad for Eliot Cutler, United States Senator Angus King endorses the Independent Cutler. King was a former Governor of Maine and is an Independent himself.
There aren’t many specifics in this ad. Does that matter to you?
The purpose of using both Independents and Democrats in an ad for a Republican candidate is to show that even if they are from a different party, they support him. It helps give voters the impression that even if he is a Republican, he may not simply tow the party line as many people tend to think about candidates that aren’t in their own political party.
The ad for Congressman Michaud takes a similar approach, although this ad has a negative connotation towards Governor LePage. With respect to LePage, all it really shows is that he isn’t all that the other ads have cracked up to be, and that he has taken to “false” attacks against his opponents in the race. This is all fairly standard when it comes to political races though, at most it shows that while in his own ad he has support across multiple parties, that actually may not be the case. The segment of the ad that focuses more on Michaud himself takes a similar approach that the LePage ad does. It shows he works across multiple parties to get what he believes is best for the citizens, regardless of his political party. Regardless of how true this is in practice, I believe it is much stronger than the opener with the negative outlook towards his opponent.
To me, I don’t really think the lacking of specifics is that large of an issue because I always take these ads with a grain of salt. With that being said though specifics would have certainly helped to make the ad stronger. In the current state it serves best as an introduction to the candidate. Which for all intents and purposes works alright as a political ad.
About 36 percent of New North voters identify themselves as independent, according to a UWO survey. About two-thirds of those independents tend to align with a particular party when it comes to the issues. Still, that leaves a solid 12 percent of voters in an area that holds nearly a quarter of the state’s population who are persuadable. Studies have shown Republicans tend to be more consistent, every-election voters while a significant number of would-be Democratic supporters are only motivated to vote in presidential election.
Perhaps the biggest myth about independents is that they are closet partisans or “leaners” who are independent in name only but regularly vote with one party. True, about half of independents do fit into this category, but the rest are truly independent; their allegiance swings from election to election. They are persuadable, not polarized partisans. A recent Pew Research Center poll puts the number of swing voters this year at 23 percent almost a quarter of the electorate.
Both LePage and Michaud are trying to show their ability to reach over party lines. Their ads really show non-partisanship because they don’t say “Paid for by the Republican/Democratic Party”. Michaud’s ad seemed to be a shot back at Governor LePage is not the only one who can have the approval of both parties. The ad for Cutler was pretty rough, I could make a commercial for myself to be Maine’s next governor and say the same exact things about myself.
LePage brought Democratic and Independent voters into his ad to show that political party affiliations aren’t set in stone. Americans should vote for a candidate based on achievements, goals and financial plans rather than a single letter next to a name on the ballot. Michaud responds by inferring that LePage’s term was impotent off the bat, then proceeds to tell us how HE reaches across party lines to find solutions for the residents of Maine while he strolls down the street with a happy white family of five.
And then there’s Eliot Cutler. Since he’s such a creative, brilliant, abstract thinker, you’d think he’d have something intelligent to put in his ad. Apparently he has ideas, though, according to Angus King. And ideas are good, right? God forbid Cutler shares any of them with us. They might just fly right over our heads. But King says he’d be great for the job, so maybe we should just take his word for it. (Yes this bothers me)
LePage’s ad uses Democratic and Independent voters to show how he can sway opinions of the other parties. In Michaud’s ad, it is inferred that LePage doesn’t fix problems, he just causes more. The fact that there are no specific opinions or goals for this candidate make me feel like he will just “wing it”.
LePage takes advantage of the fact that he has democratic and independent voters on his side. Reason for it is because LePage has done so much for the state according to the voters.Eliot cutler has lacks in specifics ddocent tell me much.
I feel that the purpose of using Democrats and Independents in Governor LePage’s ad is to show that he is actually working to make Maine a better place for all of it’s residents regardless of their political affiliations. If I were a voter from the party opposing the Governor, I guess it would be nice to see others with the same mindset agreeing with what the Governor is accomplishing.
In Congressman Michaud’s ad, we are to infer that Governor LePage is only looking out for his fellow Republicans and has failed to do what he promised or that he has left the state worse off than when he started.
In Cutlers ad, I don’t think that the lack of specifics either helps nor hurts his message. We are to believe that he simply wants the best for the state and that he is willing to do what is necessary in order to achieve those goals.