Fox Giving Dems a “Wedge” Issue?

Salon’s Alex Koppelman looks at the impact of Michael J. Fox’s campaigning and concludes that his focus on stem cell research may have handed the Dems a so-called “wedge issue,” especially in close races.

Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa credits Fox commercials with helping him win reelection in 2002. Fox has done commercials for Claire McCaskill in Missouri, where a ballot initiative would clear the way for stem cell research.

Koppelman writes that in that state, “a survey by HCD Research, a marketing firm that was one of the first to notice the impact of the Swift Boat ads on the 2004 presidential race, showed that after viewing the ad, those who considered themselves independents became 10 percent more likely to vote Democratic. Republicans, too, were profoundly affected by the ad: After seeing it, 10 percent of those who identified themselves as Republican reported that they would now vote for a Democratic or independent candidate.”

Fox is scheduled to visit Virginia on Thursday, where James Webb is waging a tight challenge against Sen. George Allen.

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