D'oh: Obama ads boost enthusiasm for Romney

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

A new survey of presidential campaign ads reveals that those from Mitt Romney and President Obama jazz Republicans, pushing GOP enthusiasm 42 percent higher than it was in 2008 for Sen. John McCain.

"Democratic ads are goosing Republican enthusiasm," said poll analyst Adam Schaeffer of Evolving Strategies, a public opinion research firm. "That in turn will boost Republican turnout," he added.

Evolving Strategies and Qualtrics teamed to study reactions of 2,384 voters to seven political ads. They found that Obama ads helped the president increase his vote by 15 percent and pushed down Romney's vote by 18 percent.

Romney's ads, meanwhile, did little to push the vote of Republicans or Democrats. "They are just plain ineffective," he said.

But more importantly, Schaeffer said that ads from both campaigns were jolting Republican enthusiasm. He told Secrets that the Obama ads especially irk GOP voters. As a result, the Romney and Obama ads have supercharged the enthusiasm of 2008 McCain voters, a huge boost for Romney.

"Romney and Obama ads increase the highest level of voter enthusiasm of '08 McCain voters by 13 points--a 42 percent surge in the number of McCain '08 voters who are extremely enthusiastic to vote this year," said Schaeffer. What's more, he said, Obama's ads did not boost Democratic enthusiasm for the president.

That helps to explain the difference between polls of registered voters, which are more favorable to Obama, and those of likely voters, which are much more favorable to Romney, Schaeffer explained. Polls of likely voters, he said, take into account enthusiasm and voter engagement.

Unclear, he added, is whether Obama's more persuasive ads will be able to close the enthusiasm gap. "I don't know if there is enough time for Obama's ads to work," he told Secrets.

Here are links to the ads that were tested:

Romney-Medicare ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YfWaERDyS0

Obama-Medicare ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2egu76D6RtE

Romney-Economic Attack ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erT_1axOAHo

Obama- Economic Attack ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn04p9-yXHY

Romney-Plan ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFQAZYZrjVU

Obama-Plan ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiVe_7kTTdQ

AFP-Disappointed ad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl41JUXi9lU