Why Sestak's new ad is so devastating

by: Chris Bowers

Thu May 06, 2010 at 11:49

Joe Sestak has a new ad up in the Pennsylvania Senate campaign.  Unlike his previous ad, which was focused on his biography, this is an attack ad on Specter:

Here is a transcript:

Sestak: I'm Joe Sestak, the Democrat. I authorized this message.

Specter: My change in party will enable me to be re-elected.

Narrator: For 45 years, Arlen Specter has been a Republican politician.

George W. Bush: Arlen Specter is the right man for the United States Senate. I can count on this man. See, that's important. His a firm ally.

Narrator: But now...

Specter: My change in party will enable me to be re-elected.

Narrator: Arlen Specter changed parties to save one  job: his, not yours.

One year ago, the first ever Specter-Sestak poll showed that Arlen Specter's perceived motivation for switching parties was the most important issue in the election.

Among those inclined to believe Specter switched because agrees with Democrats more on the issues, he trumps a potential Democratic challenger by 56 points, 74 - 18 percent. However, among those who believe Specter's primary rational was political expediency, he trails a generic Democratic candidate by 32 points, 28 - 60 percent, suggesting that should more primary voters come to believe that Specter won't be a Democrat when it counts, the race could dramatically shift away from him.

When more Pennsylvanians believe that Arlen Specter switched parties to win re-election, his chances of victory decline rapidly.  That is a pretty easy case to make, since Specter said as much back when he switched.

This ad, which is backed by a large monetary buy, twice shows Specter himself saying  that he switched parties to win re-election. Showing him with Bush and Paalin won't help much, either.  In fact, the praise from Bush could easily cancel out Specter's ads with Obama's praise,  since that just emphasizes Specter's self-interested sucking up to power.

Even before this ad, Specter was already in a lot of trouble.  The four polls taken entirely since Sestak started running paid media average to 46.0%--40.8%. The rapid shift toward Sestak reveals what was always Specter's underlying weakness in the campaign: Sestak has long led among Pennsylvania voters who are aware of both candidates.  Even without more Pennsylvanians believing that Specter switched parties to save his job, Specter still could have lost the campaign if Sestak's name ID rose high enough (which the bio ad and relentless campaigning is accomplishing).

Finally, that last point underscores how expected low Democratic turnout could doom Specter once and for all.  Democratic turnout is way down in primaries this year, compared not only to 2008 but also to 2006 and 2002. Lower turnout is going to increase the percentage of news junkies in the electorate, and thus the name ID of Joe Sestak in the electorate.  As such, it is entirely possible that Sestak is already ahead among the people who will actually vote.  Current polling may be picking up a broader range of voters who are lower information, who don't know Sestak, but who won't show up on May 18th.

Arlen Specter is in a lot of trouble. Democracy for America has endorsed Sestak now, too.  Help Joe Sestak out here, or by visiting hiss campaign website.

Chris Bowers :: Why Sestak's new ad is so devastating

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Is this ad showing in Philly yet? ... (0.00 / 0)
because I haven't seen it .. though I'll be on the look out for it now

When DSCC called this morning, (4.00 / 2)
I told them I was not going to contribute anything to them. I support Sestak over Specter and told them that was why they would not get a donation from me.

This is a Great ad!

PA voter turnout (4.00 / 1)
It's kinda insane because in the past 2 years most of my nonpolitical friends have paid more attention to politics but not to this election. I was bowling 2 days ago and I asked my friends if they'd just vote for Sestak just because I said to and they said sure. Awesome. That was easy.

wonderful...a "better" Democrat, (4.00 / 1)
strong supporter of the escalation in Afghanistan. Wow. Can I give thousands? I sure hope the "progressives" get behind this "great", "better" Democrat. Gee Chris can we all put in a few hours to back this GREAT MAN.

Sadly, Ralph Nader is not a Pennsylvanian (0.00 / 0)
So I guess we'll just have to throw up our hands, declare a pox on both their houses, and stay home.

[ Parent ]
That's one issue (4.00 / 1)
If you're a single-issue voter than by all means stay home, but if you care about health care and labor then think again. More Americans die on the job every year than have died in Afghanistan. If you're allowed to have a worker-ran safety committee that number is lower. One candidate believes that. Another never will.

[ Parent ]

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