There’s a new Victorian Coalition attack ad doing the rounds online (well, it was new a few weeks ago when I first planned this post).
The production values are amazing. Very good for a State campaign nearly 10 months from the due date of the next election. I’m not sure how effective it would be, though. Can you get away with pinning the alleged mistakes of a previous government made four years or so ago on the current party leadership? I think the question most voters will be asking themselves would be, is my life better now, and should the current state government receive the credit/blame for this? And is the government pursuing policies I agree with, or that will make my life better.
I spoke with two other people with State-level political experience about this. They thought voters are still unhappy about myki (a digital public transport ticketing system that ran well over budget and time) and the water desalination plant (that still hasn’t been used to supply water – although in part due to a decision by the current Coalition government), and they remember it was Labor that was responsible for them. As a result, they think the Coalition are taking the tactic that you might not like us either, but you can’t afford to bring Labor back in.
However, I’m just not sure that many voters would be swayed by this argument. Labor partisans will generally vote Labor (almost) no matter what. The previous government, whether you liked it or not, was not a disaster. Perhaps a few swinging voters will be swayed. Maybe. But I’m not convinced.
The second person I spoke to agreed the production values were high quality, but they didn’t think the ad would be effective. They believed the bad press the Government has been receiving lately (January-February 2014) with its inability to control Parliament and get its agenda through the Legislative Assembly would result in voters believing the ad was a smokescreen and discount the messaging.
I think this is an insiders view, and probably doesn’t reflect what most voters are thinking (how many pay attention to what is going on in Parliament?). However, I do agree the messaging is unlikely to move many people to change their votes. It appears too remote from the lived experiences of most people.
Coming back to where I began, my opinion (and it is just an opinion) is the majority of voters who are likely to change the party they support will probably decide to do so based on whether they feel their life has become better or worse under the current government. This ad does little to address that. A more effective approach for the Coalition would be to outline what they have done to improve the lives of the people of Victoria, and what they would do in their next term in office (if they won) to continue to do so. Any alternative thoughts are welcome, though.