The Swingers

Posted on October 6, 2010 by


With the 2010 election drawing closer, the relentless campaign ads are getting more and more frequent.  I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the same ad several times a day.  Mostly the ads are negative, telling us how this candidate is terrible and how you should be afraid if they ever got elected.  One particular election race that is gaining this attention is the Bennet vs. Buck race.

Several ads in particular are very persistent about the information they are trying to relay.  First an anti Buck ad brings to light his position on social issues like social security and more importantly his views on abortion.  This video, from the democratic senatorial campaign committee, has several women giving testimony of how it limits women’s choices and rights.  The ad questions why Ken Buck opposes common birth control methods and fertility drugs and why he is trying to take women’s rights backwards.

“I can’t believe in 2010 Ken Buck wants to limit women’s access to birth control…This is reaching so far into people’s private lives…Who is he to make that choice…Ken Buck doesn’t belong in my family planning…Women’s rights should not be taken backwards.”

Another ad from Michael Bennet centers on a local Denver Ob/Gyn doctor, Dr. Eliza, talking about similar issues:

“As a doctor I try to protect the health of women, that’s what I do.  That’s why I’m very disturbed by Ken Buck.  Ken Buck would ban common forms of birth control.  And Ken Buck wants to make common forms of birth control illegal even in cases of rape and incest, but that should be a woman’s decision not a politicians.  As far as I’m concerned, Ken Buck is just too extreme for Colorado.”

A third ad from the democratic senatorial campaign committee highlights that Ken Buck said he “wouldn’t necessarily” represent Coloradans who called his office, and he’d vote the way he wanted. The ad is filled with all women and one man all saying how Ken Buck is not concerned with” voicing our opinion.”  This ad tries to show that Ken Buck will not fairly represent the women in Colorado if he is voted into office.   It also shows that he will change the whole constitution if he would be voted in again trying to show the “extreme” factor.

The ad targets women and points out the fact that their rights could be in jeopardy.

The reason these ads are targeting women so heavily is because of the fact they are typically a swing voter and through Mark Penn’s theory, there needs to be triangulation between the republicans, democrats, and the “soccer moms” or swing voters.  Since there is already a certain amount of voters that will vote for their party affiliation Penn thinks that they don’t need to be worried about the party’s base voters.  Instead, the soccer moms need to be targeted to gain the swing vote.

When interviewed, it was found that more women are more concerned with the state of the economy and putting food on the table.

“‘My concern as a working mother is the economy, the future of health benefits and education,” said Rogers, a 42-year-old from Highland Mills who works for an insurance company.

They seem like they are disappointed with the current administration and its handling of the economic crisis.

It hasn’t changed. I mean, it’s been two years and there’s no stimulus, there’s nothing. People are getting frustrated and rightly so,” she said. Rogers said she’ll vote for whoever can show her a plan for turning things around.

This is a major turnaround from last year due to the fact President Obama was being called a “new champion for women.” “It was believed Obama could be doing more for women’s rights than ever dreamed possible.”  But more women today seem concerned about paying the bills and being able to afford food in this tough economy.

The Bennet ads are trying to paint Buck in a bad light as to dissuade this demographic of voters form voting for him.  They bring to light issues of him wanting to ban abortion and birth control which apply strictly to women.  If these women think that Ken Buck will limit their rights, then they will surely concentrate on his issues and forget about the financial problems.

In a race that is as close as this, every vote matters and if Bennet can secure the swing vote he will certainly be better suited to battle Buck.  Currently the race puts Buck ahead by + 4.4 which explains why the democrats are scrambling to put out ads that draw attention from the economic conditions of the country to the social issues, especially when the swing voters decide who they are going to vote for late in the election.

Poll Date Sample Buck (R) Bennet (D) Spread
RCP Average 9/17 – 10/3 48.4 44.0 Buck +4.4
Rasmussen Reports 10/3 – 10/3 750 LV 50 45 Buck +5
PPP (D) 9/30 – 10/2 834 LV 45 46 Bennet +1
Denver Post/SurveyUSA 9/28 – 9/30 647 LV 48 43 Buck +5
McClatchy/Marist 9/26 – 9/28 537 LV 50 42 Buck +8
CNN/Time 9/17 – 9/21 860 LV 49 44 Buck +5

The fact is people are angry with the current state of the country but if they see that their rights could be threatened that could lead to a more emotional influence and eventually win them over for the Democratic Party.  This form of negative ad campaigning could work for the democrats to pull in the swing voters if they can successfully get the economy off their minds.  Time will tell if Bennet can get the votes he needs but I believe the economy is too great of an issue to ignore and will be the ultimate turning point of voters for the election.