It is pretty clear to me based on our polling this weekend that Kay Hagan will be headed to the US Senate unless something very bizarre happens in the next 72 hours. While numbers in the races for President and Governor are basically unchanged from last week there has been clear movement away from Elizabeth Dole, a sign that her 'Godless Americans' ad is blowing up in her face.
Dole has run one of the worst campaigns imaginable. Here are several examples:
-Doing a huge ad buy in June to bolster her numbers because her people got freaked out when polls right after the Democratic primary showed a tight race between her and Hagan. Of course the polls were going to tighten after Hagan had been on the air unchecked for a month...but the polls in May don't matter a lick. The best campaigns are ones that can keep their eye on the ball and make decisions based on the long haul instead of for instant gratification. How's that 14 point lead in June looking for you now Liddy?
-That money would have been much better spent in say, the month of August, when the DSCC was able to define Dole in the eyes of the electorate without any real push back from her campaign. The fact is the ads she ran in June were actually pretty darn good. They got out in front of the 'she's not from around here' argument by showing her across North Carolina, with real North Carolinians speaking positively about her work. She came across relatively likable in them.
But instead of rolling those out again immediately after she started getting attacked, the reaction seemed to be sitting around for a few weeks and then attacking back. But the reality is that attacking Kay Hagan was never going to be a particularly effective strategy for Dole because this race turned into a direct referendum on her. She needed to make people like her again, and she wasn't going to do it by attacking her opponent that no one knew much about.
The old men on the porch in the DSCC's ads asked a question that I think a lot of North Carolinians were wondering about: "what happened to the Liddy Dole I knew?" Dole never answered that question in this campaign.
I'll have more on the impact of the Godless Americans ad and how it shows her campaign team is out of touch with the changing face of North Carolina later.