Romney’s welfare ad: What happened?
Slate‘s Dave Weigel reports from the victorious “progressive” RootsCamp on why Romney’s seemingly powerful welfare ad didn’t appear to make a big impact:
Saturday, I sat in one of the Washington Convention Center’s dark and anonymous meeting rooms and learned just how badly that ad had failed. The lesson was part of RootsCamp, an annual post-election conference of Democratic/progressive campaigners put on by the New Organizing Institute. My teachers were media trackers from the Democratic National Committee, young quants who repeatedly, politely pleaded with reporters to keep quotes and hard numbers off the record.
They did share two maps. The first one showed the media markets where the “gutting” ad ran—Virginia and some spillover in Maryland and North Carolina, colored in faded purple to measure the impact. The second showed the states where media coverage informed voters that the ad was false. Purple-mountained majesty spread from coast to coast, with states far outside the Romney ad zone learning of, then loathing, the Romney message. [E.A.]
Assuming the DNC operatives’ charts were accurate: 1) Obama owes a big debt to the MSM and its newly assertive, self-righteous fact-checkers, who flatly declared the Romney ad “false” when there was actually quite a bit of truth to it. I’d figured the media “filter” might not matter so much. That seems to have been wrong–at least in states where all voters got was the filter. 2) To the extent the ad flopped because the MSM and Bill Clinton succesfully argued that work requirements hadn’t even been weakened, that’s hardly a mandate for weakening them further. In other words, it’s not such bad news if the DNC analysis is right and voters chose Obama after being told the ad was “false. ” 3) The bad news would be if voters chose Obama after concluding the ad was true–i.e., if they didn’t care whether welfare’s work requirements were being gutted. …