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‘The dirtiest campaign’: Low expectations for 2024 election ads

Mar 7


U.S. political campaigns have become notoriously toxic, a trend broadly reflective of the overall toxicity of modern American politics itself. Political campaign ads and political messaging have become perhaps the most consistent public measure of that toxicity. So when it comes to the upcoming election, what do Americans expect to see in their political advertisements and campaign messaging?

In this 30-minute episode of America Speaks, pollster and political analyst Dr. Frank Luntz asks a panel of Americans to review political campaign ads for the upcoming 2024 election and to rate how they feel second by second as those ads progress. Democrats and Republicans were measured separately, and their approval ratings were often opposite from one another, implying that a good or inspiring message for one side was often perceived as negative by the opposing side. But the unaffiliated line, measured in yellow, suggests more nuance and moderation in the center of the political spectrum.

Hello, and welcome to a very special edition of America speaks right here on straight arrow news, we already know 2024 is going to be the most negative campaign in modern history. And based on the campaign ads that have just been released, day two, we’ll set new standards and how hostile we can get. Many viewers of this program will not have seen these ads, because they usually run only in states that are considered competitive. The rest of America has no idea what the campaigns are saying about themselves, and more importantly, each other. So keep watching for a preview of campaign 2024. But first, our national panel of voters weighs in on the election and what they’ve seen so far. Give me a sentence to describe the 2024 presidential campaign and the political environment in America today. In a sense, how do you put this all together? Steven, go ahead.
It is going to be the dirtiest campaign in American history.
Margaret, what would you say? To all guys fighting it out, like Rockem, sockem. Robots. It’s gonna be dirty, and, and just just making fun of each other poking
fun of each other
all the time. So, Brooke, you live in one of the most important states in America? How would you describe American politics today in 2024?
incredibly disappointing.
Jen from Michigan.
It’s going to be ugly, very divisive. Why
are you so? Well, you also negative jump in
the bar keeps getting lowered. I think that on one side, we we used to hold these ideals of what we want the president to be. And then the bar just keeps getting lowered. Either they’re too old or they’re facing too much corruption. We just keep lowering what we expect from our president. And I think that’s showing that the sliding of American ideals and values. I
feel like we believe we could do hard things. And I’ve lost that faith that like in those moments, they’ll do a hard vote and do the right thing. I’ve lost that.
area, uninspiring, I mean, I don’t even really know if I want to go out and vote. I mean, I sit well, but I just don’t have that urge now to like, oh, my gosh, I really gotta get to the polls before the close.
I don’t see myself in any party, which is why I identify as independent. There’s nothing about any of the major either the major parties that appeals to me whatsoever.
I think it’s pretty clear that that moving ahead in this political campaign for president that is going to be more personal than it is going to be about the issues. And I think
I think that they no longer represent the people and our voices is all about their power and distractions with what what’s going on with them instead of the people. Lauren,
I was gonna say I say this with no ill will, but we won’t be able to move into another era until both prospective prospective candidates are unfortunately no longer, at least physically or cognitively possible. So I think we still have a few elections before some normalcy or whatever is coming back.
John, you’re nodding your head.
Yeah, I mean, especially with the two candidates your issues, right that until we’re just going to take a while to flush out what we have right now. Because I think since 2016, we’ve had two of the most unpopular candidates and all it has been has been sound bites, and I don’t know whether it’s the press that started or the public wanting to sound bites. But all it is is trying to be comical and trying to be sarcastic instead of covering the issues. And you’re right, it’s going to we’re going to have to flush out about a generate not a generation but at least 10 years of politicians.
I think we’re choosing like the lesser of the two evils when we go to vote, we’re not picking the candidate that we want to win. And I think in the past, like, even if your candidate did not win, and you did not agree with all their issues, the President I think you still found things where you could be on common ground or think that they really did a good job at something and get behind.
But I also inspire optimism. They inspire optimism and I think we’ve reached a point where that’s no longer true.
And you know, 2012 was the last time we saw a losing candidate Be gracious. And ever since then there’s been you know, stop the steel you didn’t just in the media fuels and negativity, and it’s more about what you’re voting. You’re voting against someone instead of voting for someone. And the media clearly has an agenda, be it for one candidate or for another and a lot of misinformation out there.
negative news negative news. And now they campaign ads. America speaks Shut up participants a dozen of the latest executions, you’re about to see the ones they liked the best, and the ones they hated the most. But first, let me explain the lines you’re about to see over your computer screen. Our participants use their computers to register a second by second reaction to each ad. Those reactions are represented by the colored lines on the screen. We divided the group into Democrats, the blue line, independents, the yellow line, and Republicans the red line, the higher the lines climb, the more powerful, impactful and favorable the message. If the lines drop, that indicates a negative reaction to what they’re seeing or hearing. Now, not surprising, the Republicans and Democrat lines are polar opposites. The line that I’m watching for is the independent yellow line, they will dictate the election, and what they think about the ads, the independence. That’s what matters most. So let’s listen in. Let’s take a look at the ad that you rated the best overall.
I’ve made the Preservation of American democracy, the central issue of My presence, I believe in free and fair elections, and the right to vote fairly and have your vote counted. Or something dangerous happened in America versus an extremist movement does not share the basic beliefs in our democracy. All of us are being asked right now. What will we do to maintain our democracy? History is watch. The world is watch. Most important, our children and grandchildren hold us responsible. The vice president I have supported voting rights since day one of this administration. And I asked every American to join me in this cause. America is still a place the possibilities for the power resides We the People, that’s our soul. We are the United States of America. There is nothing beyond our capacity, and we act together. I’m Joe Biden, and I approve this message.
You saw how divided that was? In my capacity, love that message so much. You went off the scale. Republicans hated that message you went down off the scale. Independents responded quite favorably at the end. So can I ask the independents here? What was part of that message that cause you to give it a federal reaction at the end? Anybody?
I like what, by the way, at the end? Because I mean, anyone who says that I agree with that phrase. You know, just you know, we’re united states of america, it’s a very positive message because I can separate that from the person who’s saying it.
Darren, why was that so positive at the end? For
me, it was, you know, when he was saying, well, United States of America, there’s nothing we can’t do if we do it together. It’s just to me, it’s very inspiring. Because we all work together, we can accomplish our goals.
One more of you. Can you tell me why that last message in the last 710 seconds was so positive. Carolyn, for me,
it’s about the possibility because really every election is about a new possibility. And that combined with those powerful images really just hit me.
Did any Republican find that ad impactful and convincing? None of you did any Democrat. Were any Democrats disappointed with or rejected that commercial? Raise your hands. None of you. So basically, the only people who are being moved in this are the people in the center are the independent. Today
marks the beginning of the end of Joe Biden’s presidency. Today we start to take back our country, state by state city by city, county by county, thanks to buy in. America is in chaos, the worst immigration crisis in our nation’s history of flailing economy that’s left millions in financial distress and international tensions that threatened freedom everywhere, it must stop. And today marks the beginning of the end of Joe Biden’s presidency.
Once again. The Trump people loved it. The Biden people hated it. But that ad actually did well among independents. Please explain to me why.
It perfectly targeted his weak point integration, the economy and global affairs and I mean that all maybe many people You’d be
somebody else. Yeah,
I think it hits the issues that are being brought up today that are going to be unresolved by the time that the election rolls around.
I think also, there was a tone of Reagan and and almost the opposite side of the same coin of Reagan in America Morning in America, where they would start with, it’s morning in America. And this started with it’s the end of the Biden presidency, and they use the same tone. So I think there was almost like a subliminal messaging with that.
Somebody else,
concerns of the country that are polling well, and they use those concerns and how the Biden administration is responding to those against them.
Somebody else
mentioned crime. And I think, no matter what your political affiliation, no one wants to be a victim of crime. So that resonates and Biden has shown not to make that a priority.
Did any Biden person find that ad to be credible? Lauren told me what. So
um, I really liked that it hit on all of his, all of his weaknesses, like they said, and it wasn’t so much about attacking Joe Biden for, you know, culture war or whatever, but about, you know, the credible facts. And I think it’s the same thing as it was with 2016. Personally, for me, I’m not voting for Biden, or it’s not the side of set. I’m not voting for Biden, I’m voting against the other option, sort of how I feel what people voted for Trump, rather than not vote for Hillary Clinton. So I am a Democrat, but I do think that ad was very credible. Okay,
now we’re going to show you the best Trump ad. Once again, you can see the lines divide. There. Here’s the best Trump ad.
They come from different walks of life, but all have one thing in common. They want their country back. Parents who want to take back control of their children’s education, veterans tired of being kicked to the curb. They believe in protecting the sanctity of life, securing our borders, standing for the flag, kneeling for God above and an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. Hillary made fun of them.
You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Biden called them a threat. The
migrant Republicans represented an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic, and
DeSantis. To gratingly called them listless vessels. No, they aren’t run. They are great Americans, who know there’s one person who will always have their backs on Donald J.
Trump and I approve this message.
Okay, first for the Republicans here. You started to dial that ad down. Please explain why.
I think Well, I think two things I think first with the like, compared to the popular Biden Ed, it was a lot of it was a lot of fluff and statements, but there weren’t any real facts in there. And I think second what is the problem with the what’s happened with the Republican Party is there’s a lot of us that really are big fans of DeSantis and him dragging DeSantis and criticism. He goes back against the old Reagan, don’t speak ill of any of any Republicans. And, you know, DeSantis would have been an incredible alternative I feel but to attack him in the ad, I don’t think was the right thing to do. That’s where we were dialed down.
Republican, it started getting it was great all the way. I mean, it was just like America, you know, just like, and then it started going negative. And that’s kind of where I kind of lost interest and, you know, kind of echoing just a little bit can’t go negative. I mean, it’s such a such a great ad, then all of a sudden, oh my gosh, like, now you’re reminding everything negative again, and it was just wasn’t clicking with me. At that point.
It starts out very positive, and then it becomes very accusatory.
Right. And why does that bother you, David?
Well, again, I would like to see the message of bringing hope and prosperity and everything back to the country, not necessarily. Even if you use their words against them. I don’t like the fact that you’re that you’re being personal about it. You know, stay on message, make it a positive message. Say how you’re going to make things better if you believe that they’re worse and stick with that.
Now independents hear a lot of you particularly in the first 30 seconds of that were very positive. Please explain why.
It started off with it. tone of optimism. I got more clarity on when you say take our country back who for for veterans, for parents, for people who want say, and and I mean after that it started getting accusatory like David said, but it started off very optimistic and defining who’s at stake.
And now another independent tell me why your reaction initially was positive Darren,
it was, you know, as they, as Jonathan mentioned about, you know, bringing people together and I liked the beginning part and then just kind of went off the rails towards that.
One more view, one more independent one a comment, it
did start out with a message of uniting of like everybody was gathering together, and on their way to making a better America or correcting the problems and being optimistic in message.
I liked everything in the beginning, except that like, all you saw, were people in Trump’s shirts, I would have preferred to be like, Oh, wow, this is where the ads going. And just seeing regular Americans, instead of like, immediately being like, this is this party’s ad.
Why do you feel that way?
Ads connect with me when I feel like it can apply to anyone, not just a certain group.
Okay, now I’m going to show you the worst ad that you reacted to. Democrats, even Democrats didn’t like it. Independence didn’t like it. Obviously, Republicans don’t like it. So let’s take a look. And you’re gonna explain to me why.
And on the eighth day, God looked down on his plan to paradise and said, I need a man to test the will and goodness of a free people. So God made a dictator. God said, I need a man who failed in everything but theft and broken promises to live in a golden palace and convinced the poor he serves their needs. So God made a dictator. God said, I need a wicked man to lead the common folk with hatred and fear. So God made a dictator. God said, I need a corrupt man who was above the law and immune from justice. So God made a dictator. God said, I need a man who will use violence to seize power. So God made a dictator. God said, I need a man whose followers will call black white called evil, good and call criminals hostages. So God made a dictator. God said, I need his political party to obey without question, and the press fear his wrath. So God made a dictator. God said, I need a cruel man who uses his power and position to punish and to harm his opposition. So God made a dictator. God said, I need a man who breaks the faith of even his most godly followers, and leads them to idolatry placed him above me. So God made a dictator. And then God said, I sent this man to test you, and until you cast him down, you have failed. So God made a dictator.
Let me put this in perspective. Let me put this in perspective. And all the testing that I’ve done nothing in 2020, or 2016. Did as horrifically as that one. I know that we have people on the Zoom, who really hate Donald Trump, and maybe that’s too strong a word, but you really don’t like him. And many of you gave that ad a horrible reaction. Independents hated it. Why was that ad so bad, who had a negative reaction to that ad, raise your hand. If it’s almost all of you, and Roxanne, you gotta take your stand is bad. So I will call on you, but it’s really bad. So you can understand why I have to stay muted everyone else. So once again, so I can get the four people to call on who hated that ad. really hated it. David, Carolyn, Darren and Brandon, so get ready. Actually, no, I need Melissa in there as well. 321 Raise your hands if you hated that ad. Melissa, I’m gonna go to you first. Why did you hate that app?
Well, first thing I think it was absolutely true. What was in there? I don’t want to see pictures of Hitler dictators. That’s so anti American. And I don’t want to be reminded of it. We know what’s going on. We know why they’re comparing Donald Trump to those dictators and what he said in the past. I did not like them bringing in, I guess religion and God into it. I think that that’s something that should be so separate and not part of this whatsoever. John,
why did you hate that at? Oh, well, you look at the comparisons to people like Hitler, who’d be people who Have a person who gasped and killed 6 million Jews and comparing anybody compared to Hitler’s just so over the top, it’s just ridiculous as we’ve lost perspective on what true evil is, and it becomes a glib comparison,
Carolyn, why was that at so awful to you, I
found it to be repugnant in the comparisons to Hitler, Trump to Hitler. Just again, lack of perspective, and, and a race is a terrible thing in history that is not equivalent to what’s going on today by any means. But I also hate the fact that this ad took place God into everything, that is something that not a very religious person, but my relationship with God is something that I do not want my politics involved in. And it just rubbed me the wrong way. Daniel,
just gonna say because those dictators were not elected, Trump was actually elected once, and even if I don’t agree with them, or what he has to say, those people had a voice and we going back to the listening thing is, we still have to listen to the other side. Darren,
the imagery at the beginning was very offensive. I mean, comparing those three dictators, they had Saddam in there called John on, um, Hitler. It’s just very offensive to have a political ad with those individuals and compare it to someone who’s American. I just, it just turned me off Amelie.
And Brandon. It
was really dark and dark music just just very, it really felt unAmerican. Watching it.
Lauren, you’re progressive. And yet you didn’t like that ad? Tell me why.
So I think it was bad to rely on God for either reason. It’s a recent poll that 30% of Americans are considered agnostic or maybe nondenominational. But also it using God like that for Republicans. That’s it’s just, it’s just inappropriate. And I also think the intonation was just bad as well as I forget his name. I’m sorry. But he just described why all of those dictators were not comparable to Trump.
Ally. Yeah.
And I’m speaking as someone who was a very religious person, and I did not think it belonged in that ad. So that just turned me off from the beginning.
I think them included God was inappropriate, but everything thing throughout that ad was negative, there was nothing positive about that ad.
That’s what the organization exists to do negative ads. That was from the Lincoln project. Net, but I’ve never had, here’s the interesting thing. I’ve never had such a bad reaction, even to a negative ad like that, where people who are supposed to agree with it actually turned against it. So
I know I’m way outside of the consensus, but I love that ad. And the reason I love it is because of context. The context of that ad is that it’s a parody on a Trump ad, where he is thing God made a great guy. And that in and of itself is an ode to a Budweiser ad. God made a farmer Jonathan.
Yep. Jonathan, I want to show everyone that ad because you all reacted to it. And I want to get your reaction to that ad. Let’s play it.
God gave us Trump. God said, I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, fix this country, work all day, fight the Marxist eat supper, then go to the Oval Office and stay past midnight at a meeting of the heads of state. So God made Trump I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle the deep state and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to ruffle the feathers, tame cantankerous World Economic Forum, come home hungry. Have to wait until the First Lady is done with lunch with friends. Then tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon. And meaning.
Compare that ad to the anti Trump ad. Which advertisement bothered you more? The ad attacking Trump or the ad in favor of Trump, which not the candidate shows the ad itself? Who’s angrier at the ad praising Trump. Only four of you who’s angry at the ad condemning Trump. If I can get people who haven’t decided who they’re voting for, why was the ad against Trump even worse than the ad in favor of Trump?
was evil. It was evil.
It was an evil ad. It was terrible. It was, it was just so negative and putting him on the cross and that visual, I can’t get that on my head. It’s awful.
Somebody else remember the imagery of that ad with the dictator, drum beating was horrible and also defies logic because Trump was president for four years, and he left the White House. So he’s not a dictator. But I was equally repulsed by the one that kept saying God made Trump as well. I hated both of those ads.
One more person.
Yeah, the one condemning Trump’s seemed a little more mean spirited. And the comparison to Hitler and everybody else, keep beating that as a dead horse just seems to be turning off from what the message really is, or is intended to be.
Too many people have been left behind. Treat it like they’re invisible, folks. My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten. It’s about banking things here in America again, it’s about good jobs. It’s about the dignity of work, and it’s about damn time we’re doing. Joe
Biden is determined to reward hard work. That’s why he passed historic laws that rebuild our roads and bridges, invest in our factories, and bring back American manufacturing. Over 12 million jobs have been created. And Joe Biden’s building an economy that leaves no city, no town, no American behind,
we’re investing in places and people that had been forgotten. They’ve been invisible. But we were building an economy from the bottom up in the middle out for no one’s gonna be left behind
Joe Biden, a president for all Americans.
I’m Joe Biden, and I approve this message.
Okay, we know the Republicans hate it. Democrats love it. Can I get for independents here to tell me what you thought of that ad? Because you’re the one that’s targeted to? You’re the ones who are going to indicate whether or not the ad worked or not. So for independents Raise your hands? Okay, I’m gonna go in this order. Darren, Bernard, Jonathan, and Steven, four of you tell me why that ad worked or failed. Darren, I thought
it worked. Because it showed different sectors of society, rural, industrial, and the people in the video, were wearing it and shirts, they were just everyday Americans.
Bernard, the ad would work but they’re throwing a bunch of statistics like how many jobs were created and starting the economy from the bottom up, middle out, you know, without say, ever really explaining that, but throwing that out is red meat to the base or, you know, trying to sway people. And they’re throwing it at you and hoping that you don’t take the time to really figure out what the message or what they are trying to tell you,
Steven, I
think that me I think that was targeted to people who are already part of Biden’s base. And it was okay. Ed wasn’t the worst I’ve seen. But the part of the end where he says he’s a president for everyone I think about that’s contradictory because he constantly attacks those who don’t agree with him. Right. Magga Republicans?
I got one more independent to participate here. Jonathan Europe.
Yep. I think that the ad in a specific way presents the factual reasons for why you would vote for Joe Biden. It was kind of lackluster, but essentially answered Why vote for Joe Biden and ended with a president for all Americans. And that’s the optimism that I like to see in a candidate.
We’re only at the election starting line yet if these ads are any indication, we’re in for a rough, tough election campaign. But here’s the good news. We’re going to bring you all of the voter reaction to the ads, the speeches and the debates that they have any. If you want to know exactly what America is really thinking, keep coming back to America speaks. I’m Dr. Frank Luntz here on straight arrow news. Have a great day. If you can

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