SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Can a positive message work?

Monday, Aug 4, 2014

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Gov. Pat Quinn’s new TV ad is 60 seconds of one positive message after another.

“Pat Quinn sees problems, takes action and gets the job done,” the ad claims. “Now, Illinois is making a comeback,” it continues.

But the spot is being slammed by longtime campaign insiders in both parties as “spitting in the wind.”

For instance, a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll in June found that a mere 30 percent of Illinoisans thought the state was on the right track, while a a very strong 60 percent majority thought Illinois was on the wrong track.

And an infamous poll taken by Gallup in April found that 50 percent of Illinoisans would move to a different state if given the chance. We were first in the country on that response, according to Gallup. Just 25 percent of Minnesotans, by contrast, felt the same way.

In other words, a positive TV ad campaign is not very likely to change many minds. Way too many people simply hate the way things are going here.

Instead, Democratic critics have been arguing behind the scenes to abandon positivity in the very near future and launch a full-on, brutal assault against Bruce Rauner as soon as possible. And quite a few experienced Republican operatives were scratching their heads at the ad, saying they highly doubted it would move any numbers at all.

The Quinn campaign obviously tested that initial message with focus groups and polling. So, hey, maybe they’re right. But when’s the last time you heard someone say they were proud to live in this state or that things were really starting to turn around?

Meanwhile, the Quinn folks are reportedly hoping to drive up turnout by more than 200,000 votes with the non-binding minimum wage referendum this fall, which asks voters if they support a $10 per hour minimum wage.

That turnout projection has long caused much consternation behind the scenes among people who believe it’s entirely unrealistic. What the Quinnsters are hoping to do has never been done before, critics point out. The Quinn campaign’s projections rely heavily on a record off-year turnout, even though the national and state headwinds are rapidly nearing hurricane force levels and Democratic interest is quite low.

Democrats are hoping to spend as much as $5 million on the minimum wage project to drive otherwise non-motivated “base” voters to go to the polls. US Sen. Dick Durbin’s campaign is reportedly in full agreement and pressure from both Durbin and Quinn has for now forced the Chicago City Council to delay a vote on its own $13 minimum wage ordinance. The cold calculation was that a $13 per hour ordinance passed in September would undermine the Democrats’ $10 per hour efforts in the fall campaign.

On the other side of the fence, Bruce Rauner’s campaign has calculated a more than 300,000 voter turnout increase just to be on the safe side. After Rauner’s unexpectedly narrow GOP primary win (despite internal Rauner polls showing the candidate with a well over twenty-point lead), the Republicans want to be extra sure that they plan for every possible contingency.

To some Democrats, that Rauner internal turnout projection validates their theory of a turnout spike. They believe that early voting, same day registration and other new “tools” will assist them in reaching their goal.

To others, it’s just smart politics by Rauner and overly dangerous optimism by Quinn. In other words, if the spike happens, Rauner will have prepared himself. If it doesn’t happen, Quinn is likely toast.

At least in public, however, Rauner is making some pretty darned inflated claims himself. He reportedly told a group of African-American small businessmen last week that he will get 28 percent of the black vote in Chicago - something that hasn’t been done there in a very long time.

But he’s certainly trying hard. ABC 7’s Charles Thomas reported last week that Rauner committed at that same meeting with black small businessmen to deposit $1 million of his own personal money into a Chicago credit union to be used for small business loans.

The Rauner campaign confirmed the story with Thomas, calling the pledge “one of many steps Bruce will take to reinvigorate our communities that have suffered under the failed policies and broken commitments of politicians.”

That “one of many” phrase has got to send chills up the Quinn campaign’s collective spine.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Gooner - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 9:34 am:

    I’ve spent a lot of time bashing Quinn (both as Gov. and as a candidate) but I give him a lot of credit for this.

    A good campaign of any kind — election, military, trial — is going to be fought on grounds that one side chooses.

    Don’t like the turf? Choose a different place to wage the battle. Don’t like the issues in the campaign? Then keep talking about your issues.

    Sure, many people think Illinois is headed in the wrong direction, and to be honest, I’m one of them. But if Gov. Quinn repeatedly claims that the state is going in the right direction, I suspect the message is going to help him. People will start to believe it over time.

    Do I think this is enough to sway the election? No way. But it sure can help and I give them credit for making the effort to change the discussion.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    I suspect both sides will be all negative here on out. The Quinn crew, I guess, felt they had to kick off with a positive intro spot. I doubt if we’ll see much more of it.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    Great column, gets to the crux of Quinn’s problems.

    I had thought about this during the weekend, and going through possible numbers, what struck me as the Quinn sweet spot has to come from these two areas;

    Bruce Rauner shortly before the Primary had 10% negatives going into Election Day and the push by those who “know” Bruce Rauner and organized in 6 weeks moved 17 points on Election Day.

    I can not..can not understand… why hammering and shaking the real Bruce Rauner is not the avenue for success?

    Those two areas melding together had the most impact on Rauner and victory than any positive message by the “2″ or “Fiasco Friday Guy”. Those 3 refused to go toe-to-toe, sorry, couldn’t go toe-to-toe, because Rauner sucked the oxygen and cash out of all of them. It was the Unions that understood the negatives, especially and specifically against Rauner, that will move the needle, and get voters to vote against… against…Rauner.

    The negatives of Quinn are going to be hammered home these 90+ days. The complete education of Rauner, with the ground game to back up and reinforce the “lesser of two evils” …is… the winning formula.

    This could be described as “nice guy finishes last, the lesser of two evil guy gets to be called ‘Governor’ come November.”

    Rauner’s negatives need to rise, and quick, and to be rallied around to defeat him. Every day the education fails, is a great day for Rauner’s Crew. It’s a waste, utter waste to go positive, when it’s Rauner’s negatives will move numbers far, far, better.

  4. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    I’m one of the people who want Quinn to go positive.

    We see lots of criticism here and elsewhere. It’s so easy to criticize, but when we’re called forth to provide plans, some of us have bad ideas or just keep up the criticism instead of providing plans.

    Illinois was in rotten shape when Quinn took over. He passed pension reform that should have appeased those on the right who wanted it, but are they grateful? It doesn’t seem like they are.

    We are paying down our bill backlog. Our economic recovery is slow but is progressing. We have two viable pension reform laws in place–Tier 2 and the city pensions. The third law is in court and may ultimately not stand.

    The 2011 income tax increase did help our finances. We now also have medical marijuana coming next year, SSM legalization and Medicaid expansion. Those are big accomplishments, in my opinion.

    I think that part of the problem is us, and it is evident in some of the comments and polling results. We can’t turn the state completely around in a just a few years, but we’re very impatient, and we often have bad ideas or no ideas at all.

  5. - VanillaMan - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    This was the election year that voters needed to hear a positive message about the guy they elected last time into office. They needed to know that they made the right choice. They needed to know that their guy was doing his best.

    This is Quinn’s reelection. He is the incumbent. He already won once. He was to build on the votes he won before, then expand. He needed to do that in order to win reelection.

    Voters are in a bad mood. They don’t want to hear more bad. Negative campaign ads will not be welcomed by voters in this campaign. They are already ticked off. Those ticked off voters are voting for change. Telling these voters that the guy representing change this time around sucks more than the incumbent, won’t persuade this time around.

    When the electorate is in a foul mood, incumbents need to put them in a better mood. You do this with good positive ads. Show the incumbent surrounded by happy children. Show the incumbent smiling and pointing to our future. Show the incumbent in charge. Voters want to vote for someone.

    This is what I have been posting here since March. Quinn is losing because he hasn’t been doing this. Those pushing for negative attack ads are wrong. 2014 is not the year for Quinn to do little but try and demolish Rauner.

    Quinn is governor already. Rauner can’t win if Quinn convinces the same voters who voted him in last time that they were right in 2010. Rauner can’t win if Quinn convinces voters that things are getting better. This is Quinn’s election to lose.

  6. - walker - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 10:40 am:

    Standard practice to launch an attacking campaign after a couple of positive ads. You can then say you were driven to it by your opponent’s attacks.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    ===Quinn is governor already. Rauner can’t win if Quinn convinces the same voters who voted him in last time that they were right in 2010. Rauner can’t win if Quinn convinces voters that things are getting better. This is Quinn’s election to lose.===

    It’s not a referendum, no matter how you try to type it differently.

    The lesser of two evils, buys into the foul mood, and which of the negative points will be helpful to attack the other.

    It’s not an “up or down” on Quinn, it’s about which of these two are the least worst.

    The rest you reinforce your false premise is more wishful thinking than anything else.

  8. - A guy... - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 10:49 am:

    A positive message does occasionally work. This isn’t such an occasion. There’s just not enough to work with. All those few positives mentioned by others point to a huge negative; a tax increase and the potential for even higher property taxes with a shift coming down the pipe. See a straw…grasp.

  9. - RNUG - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 11:08 am:

    Actually glad to see a positive ad. The candidates need to tell us why we should like them. And, even though I;m not a Quinn fan, I did note the other day he does have a lot of small victories to talk about.

    Is Illinois in great shape? No, but it actually is in better shape than it was 4 years ago. Gievn all the non-stop negativity the past years, it might be hard to convince the voters … but it is incrementally better.

    As far as the 50% would move opinion, I’m not surprised. I’m sure the non-stop negative news stores are part of what is driving the sentiment.

  10. - Soccermom - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    I think it’s harder to make a positive ad “stick.” What are some positive ads that stand out in your memory? (Beyond PQ’s “you know me” ad in the 2010 primary, which was lovely.)

  11. - steve schnorf - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Mom, “Morning in America”

  12. - Soccermom - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    that was a long time ago, Steve.

  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:40 pm:

    Schnorf, Soccermom, I’d say Jodi Ernst’s spot this year where she cheerfully recalls her experiences “slashing pork” on the family farm was nearly perfect for an Iowa statewide GOP primary. A home run for memorability, that’s for sure.

  14. - Soccermom - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Yeah, Word — I was thinking about Sean Duffy’s spots as well. I wasn’t sure whether they exactly count as “positive,” since they’re focused on “cleaning up the mess.” But similar notions, and tailored to the electorate.

  15. - steve schnorf - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 2:45 pm:

    Mom, which means it really stuck in my mind

  16. - persecuted - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    To Rich and all that read and comment here and to the candidates, I would like to apologize for last statement. That was uncalled for. I should always write things down on paper and not put on line until I’ve thought it over for a couple of hours. Again, I’m sorry.

  17. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    ==- Soccermom - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 12:19 pm:=

    PQ had two really good “you know me” ads in 2010, one in the primary and one in the general.

  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Aug 4, 14 @ 4:16 pm:

    It is not the ad, it is the theme.

    Yes we can!

    Bridge to the 21st Century.

    Look, I will defend Quinn here.

    They feel like their drowning, throw your voters a lifesaver to hold onto, THEN fire your torpedoes at the enemy ship.

    Or, look at this way:

    If you feel your voters stampeding, you gotta build a corral before you try to round them back up.

    Plus,they haven’t really done enough damage yet with the earned media to try to amplify any particular attack.

    Will it get negative? Yeah. 9 homes, five tax shelters in the Caribbean, and a Red Sox team owner?

    Nine homes is eight more than most Illinoisans will own in their lifetimes.

    Maybe it’s time for Rauner to start dropping some cash on the homeless.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Happy Thanksgiving!
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Five unanswered questions
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day
* Caption contest!
* Crossing the line
* Moody's warns Illinois
* The Credit Union Difference
* *** UPDATED x1 - Franks responds *** Uh-oh
* Then and now
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...







Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

* Samsung Galaxy A9 specs leaked through GeekBench
* Apple rumored to ditch headphone jack for iPhone 7, go Lightning-only
* Black Friday + Cyber Monday deals, major Google discounts & more – Pocketnow Daily
* How Mobile Apps Are Transforming The Job Search
* The Samsung Galaxy View is a movable display, it’s NOT a tablet
* ZeroLemon battery cases for Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge Plus now on Amazon
* [Deal] Save up to 50% off SwiftKey keyboard themes for Black Friday

* Starting Pitcher Rankings: Chris Sale and Jose Quintana maintain st...
* Scouting profile: Adam Engel
* Alex Avila will try to shed limitations with White Sox
* White Sox program provides kids real chance
* Johnson solid candidate for White Sox rotation
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal
* White Sox sign catcher Avila to one-year deal


Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0


* Time for Rauner, leaders to get down to busines.....
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block Syrian.....

* Lawyers for Schock say documents handed over to prosecutors
* EXCHANGE: Highland art teachers exhibit works on campus
* Police make arrest in killing of Chicago 9-year-old boy
* Mascoutah burglary victim shot in 1st night at new home
* Closing of 2 Illinois harness racing tracks opposed
* Landfill cleanup to idle Rockford area sledding hill
* Hunters find body of missing southern Illinois woman
* EXCHANGE: Augustana digitizing Hauberg glass plate images
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block Syrian refugees
* Illinois high court takes Moline company's tax break appeal

* Local free community college plans may be template for U.S.
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block refugees
* Vendor Payment Program suspended due to budget impasse
* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield jobless rate falls again, to 5.1 percent
* Springfield police chief sees problems with body cam law
* Lawsuit challenges Illinois ban on marijuana campaign money
* Number of Illinois inmates released on parole climbing
* Bryce Benton circulating petitions to challenge Sen. Sam McCann in GOP primary
* Executive Mansion roof repairs nearing completion

* Retailers ready for shooting protests
* Mag Mile tied up by protest over Chicago teen's shooting
* Review: Sociale in the South Loop
* Her Barbie was a lawyer. Now she defends victims' rights
* Meet the guy making money off your food scraps

* Aaron Schock’s lawyers voluntarily providing records sought by feds
* In wake of dashcam video, Emanuel must navigate political minefield
* White House under holiday lockdown after man jumps fence
* Trevor Daley turning the corner at both ends of the ice
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block Syrian refugees
* Brown: Simeon basketball players bring their A-game to court
* 16 reasons every Blackhawks fan should be thankful on Thanksgiving
* Blackhawks cool off Sharks; Kane extends point streak to 17
* Four more Laquan McDonald police dashcam videos released
* President Obama: ‘Disturbed’ by Laquan video, grateful for ‘peaceful’ protests

* Serious crash shuts down road in McHenry Co.
* Federal funds aim to boost migrating monarch butterflies
* Live Blog: Mag Mile marchers protest Laquan McDonald shooting
* As murder charges filed, prosecutors disclose more details of Tyshawn Lee slaying
* Indiana man killed in Chicago Heights industrial accident
* Agreement reached over Schock's second subpoena
* Fire officials: Boy fatally shot on West Side
* Hundreds close stores, march on Mag Mile to protest Laquan McDonald killing

* Local free community college plans may be template for U.S.
* Rauner faces challenges in move to block refugees
* Vendor Payment Program suspended due to budget impasse
* Eugene Robinson: The GOP's political correctness dodge
* Douglas Holt: Woman's protest of Trump was misguided, inappropriate
* George Will: Muzzling pet advice another case of free speech erosion
* Bernard Schoenburg: Josh Langfelder took father's advice on election petition signatures
* Rauner pardons man found innocent of 1999 attack
* Springfield jobless rate falls again, to 5.1 percent
* Michael Gerson: The Trump effect, still 'understated'

* HS Football: Arcola vs. Stark County Class 1A Championship
* Tom's Mailbag, Nov. 27, 2015
* LIVE: Arcola wins state title
* LIVE: Arcola wins title; Unity up next
* Kids making oral history with StoryCorps holiday project
* #SundaySneak: Red Robin on the way?
* Closing of 2 Illinois harness racing tracks opposed
* Mascoutah burglary victim shot in 1st night at new home
* Chicago police arrest man in 9-year-old boy's fatal shooting
* Strikes on IS city, focus of international campaign, kill 8

* Police: Location of gunman in Colorado shooting unknown
* Revis to sit out Jets game vs. Dolphins with concussion
* Western Michigan upsets No. 24 Toledo to give NIU division
* Steelers say they must contain Seahawks QB Wilson
* Arizona Cardinals piling up points, yards, wins, fans

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Letter: Sen. Durbin is right on refugee is......

* Opinion: Sen. Kirk must stand with crimina......

* No Positive Loitering Tonight
* Fairness.
* It brings out the rats.
* If we are to get Goldman Sachs out of ESEA, we will have to be the ones to do it.
* Black Friday on North Michigan Avenue.
* Does America need a "council of elders"?
* Snow Money
* There's Snow Business
* Random Thoughts.
* ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,’ several weeks ago!!!

* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

    Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller