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Monday, March 17, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Red Phone, 3 am Ad Continues to Backfire Against Democrats

Earlier this month I wrote about a Rasmussen poll that showed that the so-called "Red Phone" or "3 am" ad that Hillary Clinton's campaign released asking, "It's 3:00am and your children are asleep. There's a phone in the White House, and it's ringing. Something is happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether someone knows the world's leaders, knows the military, someone tested and ready to lead. It's 3am and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?", backfired on Clinton, Obama and in fact brought the question to the forefront about who the general public would rather have answer that phone call, and the whole issue hurt the Democrats in general, when the plurality named John McCain as the person they would rather have in the White House answering the phone in a time of crisis.

The commercial was credited as one factor enabling Clinton to turn her campaign around in Texas last week. But, 42% of all voters said the person they’d most want to answer the phone was John McCain. Among all voters, 25% picked Clinton and another 25% named Obama as the person they’d want in the White House when a foreign policy crisis call arrived.

In response to Clinton's ad, Obama produced his own ad that very same day about the "judgment" of the person who answered that hypothetical phone call and John McCain, understanding the potential benefit to his campaign, created his own ad, which kept the national security issue that Clinton and Obama raised, right in the forefront of the public's thoughts.

That was a couple of weeks ago and another polling organization, Zogby International, has asked the same question and the results show that the original ad is continuing to backfire against the Democratic party as a whole.

When given the choice between whether the public would rather McCain or Clinton to answer that 3 am phone call, the respondents now aren't just in the plurality for John McCain, but he receives a majority of 55 percent while Clinton gets 37 percent and 9 percent are unsure.

The numbers are better for McCain when the question is between he and Obama, where McCain then gets 56 percent of the vote, Obama receives 35 percent and 10 percent are unsure.

McCain, who calls himself a conservative, makes big inroads across ideological lines on the question, the survey shows, as 25% of the very liberal and 32% of mainline liberals prefer he answer the phone instead of Clinton, and 23% of the very liberal and 35% of mainline liberals prefer him over Obama. Just 15% of conservatives prefer Clinton take the call, and 16% of conservatives would rather have Obama taking a crisis phone call instead of McCain.

Zogby International has been tracking public opinion since 1984 in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

Some might say that the Clinton ad that kicked off this reaction, which was highly criticized by members of the left and greeted with glee from the right, is the gift that keeps on giving.... to John McCain.

Rasmussen and now Zogby seem to think so.

What about you?