Should Obama Start Going Negative?

You’ve seen the campaign ads on television starting to come out where the Presidential candidates (John McCain and Barack Obama) give their stances on issues that are important in America today.  The campaign ads have not been all about the issues, though, and have began to turn into a smear campaign, almost exclusively from John McCain’s end. 


Here is the famous Paris Hilton/Britney Spears negative campaign ad against Barack Obama:



With the polls tightening (click on the link and the poll is about halfway down the page)  to a one point lead for Obama, people are starting to believe that Barack should try to start running negative ads attacking McCain in order to get his slightly larger lead back (the same CNN poll ran a day earlier had Obama with a 3 point lead and a 6 point lead six days prior).


It seems as if Barack Obama may be turning away from the positive campaign he pledged to run and is now taking his shot at running some negative campaign ads (though they are a lot tamer than McCain’s video I embedded above).  Here is the most “negative” campaign ad I have seen from Obama’s end:



My take on this is that if the negative ads posed by McCain’s team are helping him get the polls closer, then Barack Obama has nothing left to do but start his own smear campaign.  People have said this is exactly what McCain needs to do to have a shot at winning this election and it seems as if it may be working.  Barack is going to have to start getting nasty in this campaign for him to keep his lead even if that means he goes against his previous words saying he would run a positive campaign.


Also here is a video of Obama pledging to run a positive campaign:


If he wants to keep a positive campaign going there is one way he can keep his lead from shrinking.  He needs to take all these negative campaign ads that John McCain’s camp keeps running and turn them in his favor.  In other words, keep reiterating to the people so they know he is the candidate for change and is not going to join in on all of the smear campaign tactics and show the people that this is a candidate trying to use desperate measures in order to keep his party alive. 


He is trying to be new and fresh by running this positive campaign and needs to show the people of America that McCain is doing the status-quo politician smear campaign and prove to the people that these things are not true.  He needs to be himself and just rise above what McCain is doing.


In short, Barack Obama should get angry over all the things being said about him in McCain’s ads and start his own little smear campaign in order to make his lead in the polls grow larger again.  After all it would not be that difficult, all he would have to do is show an image of McCain hugging the current president and that in and of itself would make his lead in the polls increase by a few points.  He could keep his positive campaign running, as I said, and still win but, I feel this is a more efficient way of going at it.  Making McCain look bad and showing the Republicans as bad people will make Barack’s run for the presidency as easy as it could get (all of this is coming from a Republican planning on voting for McCain).



Filed under Campaign Ads, Democratic Party, McCain, Media, Negative Campaigning, Obama, Republican

4 responses to “Should Obama Start Going Negative?

  1. Tony Robinson

    You’re right. Obama must and will go negative. It always happens in a presidential race, and a certain amount of it is appropriate. First of all, there often are important negative things about candidates to consider (did they lie on their taxes? Do they cheat on dying spouses? do they bathe in baths made up of thousand dollar bills contributed by oil companies?). Second, being president will involve endless negative attacks. If a candidate can’t handle it as a candidate, they may be a poor president. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, Hillary said. She had her moments….

  2. sapopp

    Obama will inevitable have to turn negative. I don’t think he can be attacked through Election Day without attacking back. However, I think all of the endless campaign ads and the negativity will be so frustrating to some who don’t feel strongly about one candidate over another or who don’t particularly like either candidate that they will become apathetic (if they aren’t already) and just won’t vote.

  3. Stephen Noriega

    They all promise to run a fresh, positive campaign. The second they get bad polling news, they forget that promise. Of course it’s our fault. We tell polls that we despise negative campaigning but we let it work on us. Obama will go more and more negative. Each side will feign insult and outrage at the slightest statement. They will both sling mud and portray themselves as victims at the same time. Welcome to the home stretch of the 2008 Election.

  4. Tony Robinson

    It would be nice to also see evidence that voters actually respond these negative ads. Is there scholarly or other kinds of evidence you have run across that say that people actually change their votes based on effective negative ads? I would like to see links to that kind of evidence.

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