A while ago, my sworn nemesis Owen (though I swear the list of minor villains in this play is getting out of hand) gloated that Governor Jim Doyle's re-election campaign, with his allies, had spent $2 million and was only winning by ten points! "Great news," he called it. (There's an echo over there this morning.)
Part of Owen's glee there was that Green had not bought ad time yet when that poll was taken. Leave aside the constant barrage of Green surrogates, the one-paper campaign the state's biggest daily has run against Doyle, and the hourly cries of "scandal" from the big talk-radio media outlets for just a second, and consider how absurd that statement is: Green's losing by ten points (eight in the latest non-partisan polling) is a success because Green hasn't spent any money! Owen can probably generate enough electricity to power all of West Bend with that spin.
But here's the kicker: The reverse must also be true. The millions spent by Republicans--including some pretty misleading ads by interest groups and two weeks of Green ads themelves--have not made a dent in Doyle's numbers. Consider the latest Survey USA governors' approval poll. You'd think that with all the negative attention given Doyle by the media, conservative bloggers, and the Green campaign, his negatives would be sky-high by now. If indeed Doyle is the most corrupt governor Wisconsin's ever had (debatable), shouldn't his rating be worse than it is? Look at the graph (click for a bigger picture):
The red line is the disapproval rating, the blue approval. While it may be true that Doyle isn't polling in the stratosphere for positives, he also is virtually unchanged in negatives since May, 2005. That means fifteen solid months of attacks on him, his administration, his character, and his ethics have produced nothing. Green may well be looking at that 48 or 49 number as his ceiling, since it's just not getting any higher. Now it's possible that if he can turn out all of those voters, and get them all to vote for him (two big ifs), he could win. But if just two months out from the election Green hasn't been able to budge those negatives, then I don't know what he can do in time to make it successful. Not that if I knew I'd be dishing, of course.
But it just seems mind-boggling to me that Republicans are giddy about not having been able to budge Doyle's negatives one bit after the constant enemy fire. Keep spending your money, guys! Good luck with that!