Campaign #1: U.S. President - McCain (R) v. Obama (D)
As many have observed, McCain's campaign was based almost exclusively on attacking Obama's character (occasionally using Obama's policy proposals as a springboard to character attacks; e.g., Obama's tax-policy led almost immediately to McCain labeling Obama a socialist or a communist).Campaign #2: NC Senate - Elizabeth Dole (R) v. Kay Hagan (D)
Obama's negative ads focused on McCain's well-documented association with W's policies & failures. Few, if any, attacked McCain's character.
Obama's campaign also included more than a few positive ads, giving the electorate positive reasons to vote for him.
In the final week of the campaign, Dole launched a vicious & false character attack on Hagan - the infamous "Godless" spot.Campaign #3: NM1 - Darren White (R) v. Martin Heinrich (D)
Dole had led in the polls through mid-September. She was, after all, the incumbent!
After the spots, Hagan surged ahead, eventually upsetting the incumbent Dole.
Both campaigns ran negative ads.In each case the Republican candidate ran a predominantly negative campaign that focused on the Dem candidate's character. "My respected Democratic opponent is an evil person." In each case, this tactic failed miserably.
Heinrich's negative ads focused on White's record as Bernalillo County Sheriff and in previous state government jobs.
White's negative ads were without exception attacks on Heinrich's character ("liar", "law-breaker", "untrustworthy").
White ran NO positive ads - ads that told the electorate why they ought vote for him.
Heinrich DID run positive ads - ads that told the electorate why they ought vote for him.
Heinrich won handily (11% margin).
I hope there might be a lesson here.