Friday, April 21, 2006

Politics As Physics

Is the Rendell campaign trying to create a Newtonian moment in the gubernatorial campaign?

As in Isaac Newton, not Wayne.

Here are the particulars: Though it is way early, the Rendell campaign went up this week with a series of television ads in the state’s six media markets that tout the governor’s record. How big the buy is, how long the ads will stay up, is a state secret. My guess is it is a generous buy and will last at least two weeks.

Why so early when the governor has no opposition in the May 16 primary?

I see two reasons:

One: Because he can. Rendell has $15 million on hand. He can afford early TV.

Two: Because he must. Lynn Swann, the governor's Republican opponent, is tracking close to Rendell in most of the public polls, with the incumbent's lead ranging from an anemic 3 points to 11 points.

With these ads, Rendell is seeking to bring into play Newton’s Third Law, which (if you have never been tortured by physics) states:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Here is how the Rendell campaign hopes it works:

Rendell's ads tell voters he is a great governor. (action)
This causes Rendell’s poll numbers to rise. (reaction)
This increases the perception that he will be hard to beat. (action)
This impedes Lynn Swann’s efforts at raising money. (reaction)
Swann’s lack of money makes the race less competitive. (action)
Big contributors decide to send money to Rendell. (reaction)
Rendell uses that money to go up with ads to tell voters he is a great governor. (action)
This causes his poll numbers to rise.....etc. etc.(reaction)

Look upon this as an opening gambit in a long campaign.

But it does reinforce Swann’s need to raise a lot of money and raise it quickly to remain competitive in this race. See below: The Benjamin Factor


Anonymous YT said...

This race is a joke, these early polls mean nothing. Rendell is spending now beacause why the heck not? He has the dough, so why not knock this guy out early.

Lets compare quickly: Rendell, two time mayor, one time governor, career pol with success at all levels. Swann: 336 Rec. 5462 yrds and 51 TDs, also a few years standing on the side line lobing softball questions to winning coaches.

I disagree with a lot of republicans, but deep down I have to believe that they are not stupid enough to turn over the fate of our state to a guy with those credenitals.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom -
you're missing an important consideration. the media buy is designed to influence Harrisburg. Rendell's ads are playing in the southeast suburbs where Perzel's loyalists are running against primary and general opponents - and who are holdouts on a property tax deal - just as these ads go up, reminding them how popular the top of the ticket will be as they run for reelection. its good politics.
- jh

3:50 PM  
Blogger AJ Lynch said...

I think Fat Eddie is seriously concerned or 'troubled" as a Dem would say. But he's lucky he can count on the Inky to run a favorable story every day like it did last week when he gave money to the Barnes then to some museum in Bucks County, etc. His press releases are being carefully doled out one day at a time and the Inky lets him use it as a bullhorn cause they love him.

5:06 PM  

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