Go Negative or Go Home
The NDP are nice. They are a nice party full of nice people with good intentions. Ed is a nice man, Jack is a nice man, Jack’s wife seems like a nice lady. They poh-pah the Tories and Liberals for engaging in all out war, preferring to be respectful of the political process.
And what has it ever got them?
While Canadians consider themselves to be “nice” people, we don’t seem to have a problem with our politicians playing dirty. That’s why ads with teenage girls crying and guns being shot at viewers work.
That’s why I really think the NDP are on the right track with their new TV ads. Unlike the gawd-awful Tory ads, these ones look slick and go right at the Liberals, which is what the Dippers need to do. Only by hammering away at the Liberals day and night, running negative ads, and going after Paul during the debates, can the NDP avoid becoming marginalized, like they have been in almost every election in their history.
The fact is, there are 4 or 5% of the voting population who are soft NDP voters. These people tell pollsters they’ll vote NDP between elections and generally agree with the NDP. But as soon as they think an angry Albertan might become Prime Minister, they back to uncle Paulie. The only way the NDP can ever expect to make a breakthrough is if they convince those voters to stuck it up and vote NDP. There are two things they need to do in order to accomplish this:
1. Portray the Liberals as horrible monsters who don’t deserve to govern
2. Make it known that they don’t think Stephen Harper isn’t really such a bad guy
The fact is, no matter how great a positive message the NDP puts forward, the only way to get these voters back is to hammer those two messages home.
Nice doesn’t win.