80% of Canadians think they're above average drivers: poll
The relatively heavy saturation was helped in no small part by the news media. Almost a third of the 388 respondents who said they'd seen the spots recalled them only in the context of news coverage, slightly more than had seen them only as paid TV ads.
About 59 per cent said the ads were unfair in describing Dion. Only 22 per cent felt the ads were fair.
And two thirds of the respondents said the information in the ads was not relevant to their choice in the next federal election, compared with 26 per cent who said it was relevant. Among the subset of respondents familiar with the ads, the margin of error is plus or minus five percentage points, 19 times in 20.
The problem with a poll like this is that Canadians will always say they aren't influenced by negative ads, even when they are. Negative ads are considered ugly and no one wants to admit they're affected by then - hell, no one wants to admit any ads affect their decision.
Ask Canadians what they think about reality TV and I'm sure 59% will say it's trashy...and then Deal or No Deal will come in at number 1 in the most watched shows of the week. Ask them if the media focuses too much on celebrity gossip and 59% will say yes...and then rush out to read the latest on Brangelina.
The relevant number in this poll is that 38% of Canadians saw the ads, a third of them on the news. So the Tories communications strategy for the ads worked beautifully. I tend to think the ads weren't that effective but that's not because they were attack ads - it's because they sucked.