Ads and Money: Voters Voting with Their Wallets

After the McCain campaign released several ads attacking Obama’s character, news sources took positions on them. The most recent response has come from Obama supporters themselves. After the first ad was released, the Obama campaign sent out emails to their supports, urging them to donate in defiance of these tactics. According to Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe, they received over 100,000 donations from the email request on July 31, 2008. One third of these contributions came from first-time donors.

Similar to the ad response by the Obama campaign, Plouffe characterizes McCain’s ads as similar politics of yesteryear, and that the recent flood of donors indicates that they want a “different kind of politics.” This surge in donations was similar to the surges during the Democratic primary when candidates went negative on Obama.

However, McCain is not backing down with his attack ads. In an interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News, McCain explained that the ads contained a level of humor that should be expected, and an important critique of Obama’s policies:

The McCain campaign’s ads comparing Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., to those figures may have prompted a chuckle, but Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer he’s dead serious about the issues in the ads.

“We’ll continue to have humor in our campaigns,” McCain said. “Those ads really were focused on two things. They were focused on the fact that Sen. Obama wants to raise taxes, and I’m opposed of it. And he opposes an energy policy which would work, including offshore drilling. So the message there is there’re stark differences between myself and Sen. Obama.”

But McCain wasn’t done joking, either.

“I kind of enjoy ‘em,” McCain said of the ads. “You gotta have a sense of humor in this.

“You know, a few days ago, Sen. Obama said he challenged me to a duel,” McCain said. “I’m for the light sabers as weapons of choice.”

It is yet to be determined how successful McCain’s ads will be. Real Clear Politics has showed very little movement in the last week between the two candidates. However, if the donations continue to flow in for Obama, McCain will need more than a dose of humor.