The message behind Political TV ads in Michigan's race for gover - KMSP-TV

The message behind Political TV ads in Michigan's race for governor

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LANSING, Mich. (WJBK) - You can tell a lot about candidates by dissecting their TV commercials. The contrast between  Gov. Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer is striking.

Mr. Schauer says nada about his background and what he would do if he got elected.  Instead it is wall to wall criticism of the governor's policies including his cuts to education and a tax cut for business.  Get use to that, he is hanging his election hat on that theme which is summed up in the final line of the commercial:  The governor's policies are for the wealthy and not the rest of Michigan.

Over in the Snyder camp, the governor doesn't make a peep in his ad nor does he talk about his record as a female entrepreneur does all the chatter. She sought advice from "Rick", as she refers to the sitting governor, on how to succeed in business and sure enough it worked. 

It's a feel good commercial designed to leave you with the conclusion that "Rick" is quite a guy.  Mr. Schauer couldn't disagree more.

EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn reviewed both commercials and concludes that while the gov's spot may boost his favorability rating with voters, there was no compelling reason to actually vote for him.  Unless of course you want to start a flat-bread company which the young lady wanted to do.

Mr. Porn believes Mr. Schauer did not "connect the dots" in his message. He did not link  the cuts in education which were used to fund the business tax cut.  It is left to the viewer to figure that out, but if you rely on folks figuring something out, they probably won't

The pollster thinks it is significant that the Snyder brain trust picked a women to pitch for the boss.  He believes the governor has some ground to gain with GOP women, "who have questioned some of his policies" and there are challenges with independent female voters, too.  

He also sees significance in using his first name. Candidate Rick Snyder ran as the outsider, the non career politician and so rather that push the notion that he is the sitting governor, he wants you to call him Rick; he's just one of us.

"He's a good ole boy from Ann Arbor," Mr. Porn laughs, "who just happens to be governor."

Mr. Schauer continues to trot out the old chestnut that former Gov. Jennifer Granholm used successfully in 2006.  In this spot he again references this governor's tax breaks for business that out source jobs overseas, a charge the Snyder folks vehemently deny.

"Shades of Dick DeVos," opines Mr. Porn referring to the Granholm victim eight years ago.  To be sure the "overseas" bit is not the center-piece of the Schauer campaign but it is certainly a side dish designed to make voters angry enough to vote for him. 

And then there's that closing line about the governor being for the wealthy.  The subtext  is that the governor is not one of us and is not for the middle class which his backers also deny but Mr. Porn thinks this one could get legs.  He reports that pollster Stan Greenberg, who helped mastermind the first Bill Clinton presidential victory, has discovered this notion in his national research and Democrats intend to exploit it.

Mr. Porn describes it as the "class card" pitting the little guy against the rich.  The gov's guys counter, if he was against the little guy why in the heck did he fight so hard against his own party to expand Medicaid coverage to the needy families around the state?

The economy is the biggie in this race and Democrats claim that have research that suggests while voters here see an improvement but many believe only the wealthy have benefited while the average Joe waits for his ship to come in.

Mr. Schauer hopes his ship will come in on the tide provided by his commercials, while the governor hopes to remain positive hoping voters are sick and tired of political attacks.  Both are taking a calculated risk that their strategies will work.

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