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It’s called television advertising.



Say what you want about the onset of the online age. TV ads are still the most powerful weapon in politics.



The Public Policy Polling survey that showed Hagan slightly ahead surprised a lot of insiders. It wouldn’t if they had been watching TV.



The ads attacking Liddy Dole are brilliant. They have planted two numbers firmly in voters’ minds: 93 (her rank in effectiveness in the Senate) and 92 (the percentage of the times she votes with Bush).



Now Dole has put up a response ad. It hits me as weak: the usual gauzy pictures of her (which just find the attack ads’ hint about her age) and the overly broad claims: Saved Jobs, Saved Bases.



Which is another point: Voters give negative ads more credibility than positive ads. Negative ads give them specific information they tend to believe. Positive ads make claims that voters find easy to doubt.



That’s why Hagan hasn’t picked up votes from her own ads. They aren’t convincing anybody of anything.



The race is still wide open. And the best attack ads will probably win.




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