The Midterms: The Name of the Game on TV — Go Negative

The 2010 midterms are a boon to TV and radio: Spending on ads is well ahead of 2006, another “change” election that saw a wild swing in the electorate.

It’s little surprise that a majority of the spending on state and federal races has been on negative spots, 80% of the time, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

In total, $395 million has been spent on ads for the November elections, compared with $286 million in 2006, the org said, per the AP.

A big bulk of that money has been spent in California, particularly in the governor’s race. This morning, Republican Meg Whitman’s campaign team held a conference call with reporters in which they said that Jerry Brown has gone almost uniformly negative against their candidate, while they have had a more judicious mix of negative and positive messages. “He’s made no case for his campaign,” said Whitman adviser Mike Murphy.

Brown hasn’t even mounted his air war to go up against Whitman’s seemingly unlimited resources, but Murphy pointed to independent expediture groups, such as unions. Murphy also made a dig at Brown’s propensity to gain publicity from his official duties as attorney general, citing Brown’s investigation into the death of Corey Haim that included an appearance on “Dr. Phil.”

Nevertheless, Whitman’s team signalled that they plan to hit Brown on liberal turf, The Bay area, with spots attacking his record as mayor of Oakland.

Polls throughout the summer have shown Brown and Whitman at a dead heat, but Murphy says that the trends are heading their way. A recent Rasmussen poll showed Whitman with an 8 point lead.

“I believe we are ahead, and that is based on several polls we are seeing,” said Murphy, although he acknowledged that pre-Labor Day stats were like “wet cement.”

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