Report: Florida primary actually IS the most negative campaign ever

posted at 4:15 pm on January 31, 2012 by Tina Korbe

At one time or another, both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich said they would try to focus all their attack energy on the incumbent president. Given that, the devolution into negativity toward each other in Florida has been particularly noticeable. Even if they hadn’t initially promised to keep it civil, though, this Florida campaign would have stood out. It’s tempting to excuse their attacks on each other as a return to what’s common for a primary — but, actually, this level of negativity isn’t as typical as you might think.

According to Campaign Media Analysis Group, an organization that tracks political ads in Florida, this campaign is the most negative on the books:

“I spent much of my academic career telling reporters, ‘Relax, this is not the most negative campaign ever,’” CMAG President Ken Goldstein said. “Well, this IS the most negative campaign ever.”

Numbers from CMAG show a total of 11,586 television spots aired in Florida between January 23 and January 29. Of those spots, 10,633 were negative and 953 were positive.

Of the 1,012 spots Newt Gingrich’s campaign ran, 95% were negative. Mitt Romney’s campaign ran 3,276 ads and 99% were negative.

The two super PACs supporting the top candidates were more divergent in their ad strategies. Restore our Future, supporting Romney, ran 4,969 spots, all of which were negative. The Gingrich-backing Winning our Future ran 1,893 spots, and only 53% were negative.

Correspondingly, the bulk of ads in Florida – 68% – were negative toward Gingrich. Twenty-three percent were anti-Romney spots. Gingrich got support from 9% of ads while pro-Romney spots accounted for less than 0.1%.

These stats are no reason to despair, though. The general election will likely also be one of the most negative in history — and that’s OK. This election is as much about what we don’t want as it is about what we do. Often, negativity is disparaged as a dearth of ideas. For some reason, it’s considered an insult to be “The Party of No” or to be the gridlocked Congress or to be the attack candidate. Michele Bachmann is proof of that. But frankly, the “least of the evils” might just be the guy with the fewest ideas. When was the last time the national outlook was actually improved by politicians rushing to “solve” people’s problems?


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Romney’s a rich pig.

idesign

Brought to you by Occupy Wall Street. In lieu of contributions, crap on a cop car.

Do you really think that that sh1t is going to get people roused up to vote for Romney?

Nope, no one cares about that stuff. Just ask Anthony Weiner.

It’s turning people AGAINST Romney.

ddrintn

Not in Florida.

xblade on January 31, 2012 at 5:26 PM

writeblock on January 31, 2012 at 5:17 PM

You’re absolutely right, but methinks little lea is a Ronulun. Or an Occupier. Like when she stamps her feet and says: People won’t forget how they were not allowed to pick their candidate.

Buy Danish on January 31, 2012 at 5:26 PM

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 5:20 PM

You didn’t learn very much, Fred.

I suppose we should just take your word for it, right?

Please tell me where I have written anything untrue in this thread.

“First off what you have said here is inaccurate.”

Please list my innacuracies.

If the DNC etc open up the door, they will have Jeremiah Wright all over the place. If you think that they can defend “God Damn America” while trying to paint Mormonism with a broad brush, you have another thing coming.

Worked out great for McCain, didn’t it?

First off what you have said here is inaccurate.

Never said it. Bylines…they’re important when putting things in context sometimes. Wanna try again?

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Then let them be branded as religious bigots–same as we ought to brand as a bigot anybody on our side using this argument. This is a political fight, not a religious one.

writeblock on January 31, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Who will brand them?

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Nope. Afraid not, “Buy Danish”! But…you’ve described yourself perfectly! Well done!!!
jfs756 on January 31, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Thank you!

Buy Danish on January 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM

I’m pretty sure HA comments are the most negative, especially with all the Sal Alinsky trolls around here.

kirkill on January 31, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Wanna try again?

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Not even going to bother listing specifics? Good saves me the time.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Nobody will outspend obumbles. Nobody. Plus ObieOne has the media, hollywood,the pop-music industry and, it would appear, lotsa newtnuts on his side.

FlaMurph on January 31, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Now why do you say that? What do you mean by a lot? Even though Mitt and his SuperPac lied about Newt almost 100% of the time, I would still vote for Mitt in the general if he’s the nominee.

Can any Mitt supporter tell me what Mitt’s tax reform plan is? Can any Mitt supporter tell me what his economic plans are? Can any Mitt supporter tell me what Mitt’s plans are if Obamacare is not overturned in some manner by the Supreme Court?

Can any Mitt supporter tell me why they are so negative as opposed to highlighting the positives of a Romney President?

Vince on January 31, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Do yourself a favor and read a book. It might save you from sounding like a complete retard in the future.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Yes, the campaign here in Florida has become so bad that it reminded me of Joesph Welch’s quote to Sen. Joe McCarthy: Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

I wish someone would as Mitt the same question.

meci on January 31, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Maybe it’s good idea to cut off election polling two weeks or a month before an election.

People want to vote for the winner so much polling has to be a self fulfilling prophecy.

Speakup on January 31, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Santorum Is this helpful?

kirkill on January 31, 2012 at 5:37 PM

impossible to run a “positive” campaign with gingrich in the race. impossible. just like it was and will be impossible with obama. newt is a slimy backstabber, and people who were around with him in dc remembered it. he made this race a lot worse than is should have been.

runner on January 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Yes, the campaign here in Florida has become so bad that it reminded me of Joesph Welch’s quote to Sen. Joe McCarthy: Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

I wish someone would as Mitt the same question.

meci on January 31, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Yes! Damn him for accusing Newt of taking Kosher food away from Holocaust Survivors! Oh wait.

Buy Danish on January 31, 2012 at 5:40 PM

impossible to run a “positive” campaign with gingrich in the race. impossible. just like it was and will be impossible with obama. newt is a slimy backstabber, and people who were around with him in dc remembered it. he made this race a lot worse than is should have been.

runner on January 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM

mitt started the negatives in iowa, and then… THE NEWT WAS UNLEASHED MUAHAHAHAHAH!

nathor on January 31, 2012 at 5:40 PM

impossible to run a “positive” campaign with gingrich in the race. impossible. just like it was and will be impossible with obama. newt is a slimy backstabber, and people who were around with him in dc remembered it. he made this race a lot worse than is should have been.

runner on January 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Explain yourself. How did Newt make this race a lot worse than it should have been? Do you mean if he weren’t in it that Romney and his SuperPac wouldn’t have had to lie in Iowa? That romney and his SuperPac wouldn’t have gone negative?

Why is that Newt’s fault. The first negative ad was run by Romney’s side and the second and the third etc…

Vince on January 31, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Romney did veto $600,000 in additional funding as governor of Massachusetts for kosher kitchens in nursing homes; he was trying to hold down spending and thought nursing homes could make do with prepackaged kosher meals or kosher catering instead. The Massachusetts legislature ended up overriding his veto so nursing homes got the extra 600 grand anyway.

Yes! Damn him for accusing Newt of taking Kosher food away from Holocaust Survivors!

Buy Danish on January 31, 2012 at 5:40 PM

No that was Mitt that took Kosher foods away.

Vince on January 31, 2012 at 5:50 PM

No that was Mitt that took Kosher foods away.
Vince on January 31, 2012 at 5:50 PM

You’re a little slow, aren’t you?

Buy Danish on January 31, 2012 at 5:55 PM

I wonder in nuclear war would not necessarily be a negative as well.

Wolfmoon on January 31, 2012 at 5:57 PM

These stats are no reason to despair, though. The general election will likely also be one of the most negative in history — and that’s OK.

No, it isn’t. That’s because Romney can’t go this negative on Obama because the MSM will never let him get away with it.

When was the last time the national outlook was actually improved by politicians rushing to “solve” people’s problems?

Reagan. At times like this I am glad I am not in my twenties. Living through history is so much better than never learning it.

Bill C on January 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Do yourself a favor and read a book. It might save you from sounding like a complete retard in the future.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Still haven’t figured out the byline thingy, have you?

Again, please quote where I have written ANYTHING bigoted toward Mormonism.

Waiting.

Fred (Snipper One), anyone can go look up a book on Amazon. It’s another thing to actually read one. Be sure you check who authored it, though! LOL!

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

The mitidiots are the most negative ppl evah! I guess big daddy has taught them well!

angrymike on January 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Oh, look. The religious bigots showed up.

Gunlock Bill on January 31, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Sometimes a cult is a cult.

Bill C on January 31, 2012 at 6:07 PM

The mitidiots are the most negative ppl evah! I guess big daddy has taught them well!

angrymike on January 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Mittiots. Lol.

Bill C on January 31, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Last month: The only thing more irritating than Ron Paul is a Ron Paul supporter.

This month: The only thing more irritating than a Ron Paul supporter id a Mitt Romney apologist.

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Fred (Snipper One), anyone can go look up a book on Amazon. It’s another thing to actually read one. Be sure you check who authored it, though! LOL!

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

I have read the book, that was why I suggested it…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Mittens is desperate. He was supposed to be the next in line, and the annointed establishment canidate like always. He and the establishment expected the slaves on the Pub. plantation, to say, “yasuh, Master Romney, we’s be votin’ fo yuh. Yassa. But when they said, “no, Master, we will not stay on the plantation this time, all hell broke loose.

they lie on January 31, 2012 at 6:13 PM

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 6:11 PM

Have any idea who wrote it? Or is that beyond your comprehension abilities? Just sayin’.

‘Cause, I ain’t seen you demonstrate my “bigotry” yet. Maybe you’ll figure out what a byline is one of these days.

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 6:14 PM

this level of negativity isn’t as typical as you might think.

You see, Tina, that’s because this level of liberalness in a Republican frontrunner isn’t typical. Romney is DNC plant trying to win the nod so that the dems get the political cover they need for their legislative agenda no matter which way the vote turns out in the general. If that’s not something worth getting angry and negative about, then the GOP has lost any meaning it once claimed to have and any difference with the dems to boot.

abobo on January 31, 2012 at 6:21 PM

At one time or another, both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich said they would try to focus all their attack energy on the incumbent president. Given that, the devolution into negativity toward each other in Florida has been particularly noticeable. Even if they hadn’t initially promised to keep it civil, though, this Florida campaign would have stood out. It’s tempting to excuse their attacks on each other as a return to what’s common for a primary — but, actually, this level of negativity isn’t as typical as you might think.

Wow. Ever heard of Moral Relativism? Your Prince Mitt went with a 680-1 negative strategy??? Newt ran 2.5 – 1 Negative. Same thing right?

Mitt pledged civility? When? Come on, you can root for someone and stay somewhat objective … can’t you?

Think about the sheer level of the onslaught … 7,878 negative (mostly dishonest) slime ads in 7 days … more than a thousand a day. 47 per hour … 70% of everything run by 4 campaigns was a slime Newt ad. Your Prince ran less than 116 ads making a case for why he should be our POTUS … and your fine with that?

MarkCasper on January 31, 2012 at 6:33 PM

After hearing Newt and Romney stoop to “your momma wears combat boots” in their ads I voted Perry in the primary today. Neither one of these clowns is Presidential material. The ads that have been plastering the airwaves sound like a school yard insult battle. No substance and little truth from either of these clowns.

Doomsday on January 31, 2012 at 6:39 PM

Have any idea who wrote it?

Really? Your making fun of the guy’s name… really? That’s what you pass off as intelligent conversation?

‘Cause, I ain’t seen you demonstrate my “bigotry” yet.
Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 6:14 PM

You may not have seen it, but everyone else on the board has. Your lack of intelligence isn’t my problem.

You claim to be some kind of expert on Mormonism, but you refuse or more likely just can’t give any specifics. I show you an intelligent source and you laugh it off because of the guy’s name…

Just what I would expect from a Ozark hick living in Bill Clinton’s shadow.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 7:06 PM

impossible to run a “positive” campaign with gingrich in the race. impossible. just like it was and will be impossible with obama. newt is a slimy backstabber, and people who were around with him in dc remembered it. he made this race a lot worse than is should have been.

runner on January 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Your opinions belie the hard facts. If you’re trying to determine who went negative first, what degree of negativity there was: the facts are …Romney leads in spending and in amount of negativity, and was the earliest to run with the negative strategy.

As an example, the following from Wikipedia:

The Iowa race was dominated by a large volume of negative or attack advertising paid for by “super PACs” supporting candidates. Total political expenditures in Iowa set a new record, totaling over $12 million, with an estimated two-thirds coming from super PACs …Some $10 million was spent in television advertising by candidates and super PACs across the state by the end of 2011.

Romney’s campaign was by far the largest overall spender, and Romney’s “Restore Our Future” super PAC spent $4 million in attack ads against Gingrich beginning on December 9. The “Restore Our Future” negative television advertising and direct mail campaign was said to be “unprecedented” and “unlike anything in Iowa caucus history” and was credited with Gingrich’s precipitous drop in the polls from front-runner into fourth-place finisher. By December 27, $2.86 million had been spent on television advertising by the Perry campaign, and $2.85 million had been spent by the pro-Romney “Restore Our Future” PAC.

The New York Times reported that Romney “effectively outsourced his negative advertising to a group that has raised millions of dollars from his donors to inundate his opponents with attacks – all without breaking the rules that forbid super PACs to explicitly coordinate with the candidates.” The Detroit Free Press editorialized that “No one exploited the new no-limits-or-accountability playing field more shamelessly or effectively than [Romney]. His campaign mounted a sunny, Morning in America-style ad blitz, while super PACs founded and directed by longtime Romney loyalists buried the governor’s GOP rivals in televised slime.”

A study conducted by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group showed that by December 30, some 45 percent of all television ads in Iowa were negative ads against Gingrich; 20 percent were negative ads against Romney; 10 percent were positive ads for Romney; 6 percent were positive ads for Gingrich; 8 percent were negative ads against Perry; 8 percent were positive ads for Perry; and 3 percent were positive ads for Paul. Gingrich was the only candidate of the five leading candidates to face a net financial disadvantage in terms of ad money spent (as a percent of total ad money spent in Iowa) verses percent of ads run against that candidate: Gingrich was at -35%, Santorum as +4%, Romney at +10%, Paul at +17%, and Perry at +31% (the largest net financial advantage).

According to data complied by BuzzFeed, for every $1,000 spent on advertising by their campaigns, Santorum received 49 votes; Gingrich received 11 votes; Paul received 10 votes; Romney received six votes; and Perry received two votes. For every one vote received, Perry’s campaign spent $478.40 in paid media, Romney spent $154.90, Paul spent $103.30, Gingrich spent $89.74, Santorum spent $20.50, and Bachmann spent $3.95. This makes the average “price per vote” about $130, taking in account only media spending

The above is Iowa, Florida is even worse. The Romney campaign leads in both amount of money spent, and in percentage of ads that are negative. It loses in number of positive ads. (The info is available; google it yourself.)

It’s entirely disingenuous to suggest that the slime being thrown in Florida is solely attributable to the Gingrich campaign.

The Romney campaign spin meisters can bob and weave and feint and dissemble, but with the campaign finance disclosure laws, they can’t hide that the facts.

People with basic internet skills know better: Republican Blanket Iowa with Ads.

While campaigning in Iowa has been largely negative, with Mr. Gingrich the chief target, the campaigns toned down their message on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

…Uncharacteristically for the pugnacious former House Speaker, Mr. Gingrich has adopted a largely positive ad strategy in Iowa, where his campaign has bought about $250,000 worth of air time.

Look. If you’re a Romney supporter, great. Good for you. But frankly, you come off as a tool when you make the claim that this negativity is a result of early Newt campaign strategy.

Newt’s been reacting.

Your guy started it.

Word.

And Bubba? – Just FYI, campaign strategy that includes alienating maybe 60% of the GOP base, might keep you in the race because of your big bucks campaign war chest, it might get you a primary victory, but it is NOT one that is going to reap you large dividends in the fall.

…and might just bite you in the a$$.

I don’t think the Romney campaign fully understands this. But from a sample of the comments around here, I know too many Mittbots do not understand it at all.

davisbr on January 31, 2012 at 7:50 PM

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 7:06 PM

This thread is only a page and a half of comments, Fred. You have made a charge of bigotry against me on more than one occasion within this thread. I have repeatedly asked you to quote me to demonstrate my bigotry. You have failed to do so. We’ve exchanged what…a dozen or so comments? Show me the money, baby! Let’s see if your ability to locate a few posts among a hundred or so is on par with your ability to to recognize the difference between one commenter and another.

Did you ever learn the meaning of the word “byline”? Perhaps if you would look it up in a dictionary, you will then be able to put two and two together and realize that you are just a complete freaking numbskull.

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 8:19 PM

This thread is only a page and a half of comments, Fred. You have made a charge of bigotry against me on more than one occasion within this thread.

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Show me where I called you a bigot… then you can lecture me about reading comprehension.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 8:43 PM

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 8:43 PM

“Anti-Mormon”

No, sorry…not anti-Mormon. Anti-Romney.

You did finally figure out that your comments were in response to a commenter that didn’t happen to be me. That’s good. Shows you have the ability to learn.

Al-Ozarka on January 31, 2012 at 9:18 PM

A friendly reminder to all Romney supporters… just looked at the clock and it’s almost time for your daily worshipping session of the RINO establishment…

apocalypse on January 31, 2012 at 4:55 PM

A friendly reminder to all ABRtards… just looked at the clock and it’s almost time for your daily freakout session of the ABRtard establishment…

Gunlock Bill on January 31, 2012 at 4:58 PM

I pray repeatedly, frequently, to the Lord Jesus Christ… how many times a day do you worship your RINO establishment masters?

apocalypse on January 31, 2012 at 10:40 PM

This is ridiculous. How is Romney moderate and Newt isn’t? On almost every issue Newt is to the left of Romney–even on the issue of individual mandates.

writeblock on January 31, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Nobody buys the stupid claim that Romney is more conservative than Newt. And Newt is not the staunchest conservative out there.

There Goes The Neighborhood on February 1, 2012 at 4:46 AM

The LDS is not a cult. It is not un-biblical, and it is not extremely weird.

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on January 31, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Weird is obviously a matter of interpretation. Unbiblical is a given, since the only way that LDS has such different doctrines is by creating new scriptures. If LDS was Biblical, it would just be supported by the Christian Bible, and wouldn’t need new scriptures.

Whether it’s a cult is a matter of definition. If you want to claim it’s a branch of Christianity, then it is filled with doctrines that have always been considered heresy. Which would make it a cult by definition.

Mormons therefore argue with the definition. But Joseph Smith in his First Vision claims that God the Father and God the Son personally appeared before him and told him that all Christian churches were abominations. Now, Mormons take offense if you don’t accept LDS as a branch of Christianity. You can’t have it both ways.

If Mormonism is a true Christian faith, then all other branches of Christianity are heretical, because none of them agree with LDS about the nature and existence of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Holy Spirit, of the Virgin Birth, of the inspiration of Mormon scriptures, and so on.

It’s not bigotry to reject a religion. It’s only bigotry to hate or reject people for their religion without a good cause. For example, it would not be bigotry to reject Islamic extremists waging jihad. It would be bigotry to reject a Muslim who is not an extremist. (And yes, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.)

I don’t care about Romney’s Mormonism. There are so many reasons to reject his slick RINO pretenses that have nothing to do with his faith. His Mormonism may well help him more than it hurts him, politically.

The only reason I bother saying this is to push back against this constant attempt to label someone a bigot because they reject a religion. If you don’t believe it’s a religion of God, then you ought to reject it.

There Goes The Neighborhood on February 1, 2012 at 5:04 AM

No one is going to remember or care about any of this in the fall.

The only thing I remember about Clinton-Obama was the 3 a.m. phone call.

NoDonkey on February 1, 2012 at 11:12 AM

No one is going to remember or care about any of this in the fall.

NoDonkey on February 1, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Wrong. It’s fer damn sure I’ll be recalling MOST of this come the general, as it’s already hardened my position, and moved me out of the ABO column.

I suspect quite a few other are going to recall this all too damn well too …this isn’t the 1970′s or ’80′s or ’90′s anymore …this ain’t your grampa’s campaign …things said don’t simply disappear down the memory hole.

Romney to a certain extent, and his supporters to a greater extent, have either forgotten or never learned the old adage: you catch more flies with honey.

…and “all this” IS going to bite them in the a$$ in the fall, when they will be needing all of the votes they can get.

…and we’re sitting over in the bleachers, looking on, silently, not moving …remembering.

davisbr on February 2, 2012 at 10:04 AM

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