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So Much For That ‘Respectful Campaign’ From Ol’ McNasty


One thing I, in all my travels here — Americans want a respectful campaign. They do, they want it. Now, people say, well, negative ads move numbers. They may. But do we have to go to the lowest common denominator? I don’t think so.

John McCain, July 2008

So the latest WSJ/NBC poll (the same one showing Barack Obama’s lead slipping away) also shows that Americans think John McCain is running a negative campaign:

By a nearly six-to-one margin, voters say Republican presidential candidate John McCain is running a negative campaign against his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Nearly three in 10 voters, 29%, pointed to McCain as the candidate running a negative campaign, compared to just 5% who said Obama is running a negative campaign. McCain’s 29% rating is the highest of any one candidate in the previous two presidential elections according to the WSJ/NBC News survey.

Know what? They’re right. It’s not just their opinion. It’s a quantifiable fact.

The other week the Boston Globe created a word pile (click on the graphic to see it full size) analyzing the words being used by the two campaigns and teasing out which were used the most, and in what connotation. Obama’s campaign, as you can see, is largely about Obama, and it’s overwhelmingly positive. McCain’s campaign, like a mirror image, is likewise all about Obama, and it’s overwhelmingly negative.

It wasn’t exactly by accident that his high-school classmates dubbed him "McNasty."

[H/t to Silent Patriot.]

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David Neiwert

David Neiwert

David Neiwert is the managing editor of Firedoglake. He's a freelance journalist based in Seattle and the author/editor of the blog Orcinus. He also is the author of Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, June 2005), as well as Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2004), and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest (1999, WSU Press). His reportage for on domestic terrorism won the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000.