Today’s Adventures in Pseudo Profundity

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Will the Obama campaign’s attacks on Bain Capital make a difference in November? Jamelle Bouie picks up the phone to ask:

Matthew Dickinson, a professor of political science at Middlebury College, is skeptical that these attacks will have any effect on how voters choose in November….The important thing to remember is the electorate is highly polarized, and most voters have already made their choice. Dickinson explains, “Keep in mind that 70 percent or so of voters have already made up their mind regarding who they will support, and most people, including independents, aren’t paying much attention to this story anyway.”

Why do people say stuff like this? Of course the electorate is highly polarized. Of course 70% of voters have already made up their minds. So what? Campaign ads aren’t aimed at these people. They’re aimed at the small segment of the population that’s persuadable, just like every advertisement for every product in history. That’s not even Political Science 101. It’s more like junior high school level stuff.

Please, let’s all stop spouting this nonsense as if it were something profound. It’s not. All mass advertising is mostly wasted because the vast majority of the audience has no interest in the product for one reason or another. But some of the audience does. That’s the target. The fact that the target is far, far less than 100% of the viewers is news to no one.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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