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After Viewing New Anti-Obama Ad Independents Leaning Toward Obama Increase Intensity of Support

Anti-Obama Ad - Let Freedom Ring
Little Movement among Voters Toward McCain

Flemington, NJ, October 28, 2008 – A new national study among 306 self-reported Democrats, Republicans and Independents revealed that after viewing a new anti-Obama  ad, Independents leaning toward Obama increased their intensity of support for Obama.

The study was conducted by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO) on October 24-25, to obtain Americans’ perceptions of a new ad by a 572 group, Let Freedom Ring,which focuses on Barack Obama’s relationships with Reverend Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers.

The ad earned John McCain a Political Communications Impact Score (PCIS) of 14.2 while Barack Obama received a score of 8.2, resulting in a net score of 6.0 for John McCain Obama. The scores can be compared to a mean score of 8.7 for previously tested Obama ads and 7.5 for previously tested McCain ads.  To date, the total mean score for all previously tested ads is 8.1.

“This is another example of an attack ad focusing on a candidate’s perceived negative attributes that seems to back fire,” commented Glenn Kessler, president and CEO of HCD Research.  “The net result appears to be a strengthening of support among a segment of voters who were leaning toward Obama prior to viewing the ad.”

Among the Findings:

Emotions Most Felt Among All Parties While Viewing the Ad

  • Among political parties, the emotions most felt by Republicans while watching the ad were “disturbing” (25%) and “inspiration” (21%), compared to Democrats, who reported “skepticism” (31%) and “anger” (25%) as the emotions most felt. Independents reported “skepticism” (25%), “disturbed” (22%) and “anger” (22%) as the emotions most felt while watching the ad.

The PCIS is a metric scoring system designed to gauge the effectiveness of political communications by generating a score for each candidate to monitor changes in voter perceptions. The PCIS score is derived from the change in voters’ support and the extent that the support shifts.  To view scores and results of recent studies go to:

While viewing the video, participants indicated their levels of believability by moving their mouse from left to right on a continuum. The responses were recorded in quarter-second intervals and reported in the form of curves. The participants’ emotions were measured using the Ayer Emotion Battery. Participants were also asked pre- and post-viewing questions. To view believability curves and detailed results go to:

The Media Curves web site provides the media and general public with a venue to view Americans’ perceptions of popular and controversial media events and advertisements.

Editors/Reporters: For more information on the study, or to speak with Glenn Kessler, president and CEO, HCD Research or Chris Borick, Ph.D., director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, please contact Vince McGourty, HCD Research, at (908) 483-9121 or (

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