May 22, 2014 5:27 pm

Ontario election: How would you rate these political ads?

Watch video above: (May 21) Jackson Proskow breaks down the claims of the campaign ads. 

TORONTO – Thirty-second political ads have started to flood the commercial breaks of your favourite shows in Ontario (don’t you wish you’d used your PVR?).

But if you’ve already made up your mind, you may as well skip the ads – they aren’t for you.

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“One of the things you’re trying to do with political advertising is speak to the voters who are undecided.And we know from theoretical research that has been done on this issue that a significant fraction of the population is undecided,” said University of Toronto professor David Soberman.

A May 14 Ipsos-Reid poll suggests approximately 20 per cent of Ontario voters don’t know whom they’re going to vote for.

Whether the ads are positive or negative, Soberman said they need to resonate with voters.

In Depth: Ontario Election 2014

He said well-targeted ads in this election will focus on two things – the economy and Liberal scandals. The opposition parties have touched on both so far. The Tories focused on their so-called “Million Jobs plan” while the NDP took the Liberals to task for their history of “mismanagement.”

But Soberman pointed out if campaigns attempt to go negative they need to offer a solution, as well.

“It’s one thing to say what others are going to do or what they’ve done but you have to be very clear about what you plan to do,” Soberman said.

And negative campaign ads can backfire. In 1993, the federal Conservatives were hobbled by an attack ad targeting Jean Chretien that appeared to focus on his facial deformity caused by Bell’s Palsy.  They were routed in the election, reduced to only two seats in the House of Commons.

So how do the new ads stack up?

Progressive Conservatives

Premise: These are the people that need jobs. Tim Hudak is going to help them get jobs.

Verdict: “[Hudak’s] talking about a plan to create jobs and I think that, you know, getting the economy going is obviously something that seems to be important to a majority of people in Ontario. So that would seem to be right on target,” Soberman said.

Liberal

Premise: Kathleen Wynne cares. She cares about creating jobs, transit, pensions and doesn’t care for Hudak’s plan to cut 100,000 public sector jobs.  

Verdict:“Kathleen wynne discusses the issue of transit, she also discusses the issue of job and she discusses the issue of the pension scheme,” Soberman said. “The pension issue is clearly something that appeals to a more limited segment, it’s less broad than the issue of jobs. And the topic of transit would seem, to me, anyways, to be something which is mainly relevant to people living in the GTA.”

NDP

Premise: A very serious breakdown of the Liberals purported financial “mismanagement.”

Verdict:If the main focus of your message is that the guys that are in now have been wasting money and not doing a good job, that provides an argument for change, but it doesn’t provide an argument to vote for the NDP because you could change by voting for the conservatives as well,” Soberman said.

Poll: Who has the best ad so far?

© Shaw Media, 2014

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