Friday, September 23, 2011

Question: If Ballard's Still Up Double Digits? Then Why Go Negative?

Mayor Greg Ballard's strongest supporters pooh poohed yesterday's news that Melina Kennedy was ahead, 40-38, in a poll of 403 likely voters. The poll revealed that 21 percent of those polled were undecided.

Initially, Kyle Walker, Marion County Republican Party Chair, issued a declaration that Mayor Ballard was up "double digits" in their polling. If there's nothing to be concerned about, then why did the Mayor's campaign release a misleading and, what some would call, negative, retort.

Melina Kennedy weighs in in this e-mail to supporters.
Dear Friends,
I am pleased to share some exciting news about the campaign. Yesterday evening, a poll conducted by Riggs Research Services showed that among likely voters in Marion County, our campaign is leading Mayor Ballard by two points, 40-38.

This is very exciting and encouraging news. Your support has helped move us into this position. The poll results show that our message about stronger schools, improving public safety, and creating jobs is resonating with voters.

Unfortunately, less than 24 hours after the poll was released, the Mayor began unleashing a personal and misleading attack ad. In the ad, the Mayor claims that I supported an income tax increase while I was Deputy Mayor. I had no role in this. And, if he is referring to the Local Option Income Tax (LOIT) increase in 2007, this occurred two years after I left my position with the City.

And more disappointing is that Mayor Ballard made a campaign pledge in 2008 to FULLY repeal the LOIT. Not only has he broken this promise, but since taking office he has raised taxes, rates and fees more than 140 times – 143 to be precise. These tax hikes imposed by the Mayor have stifled job creation throughout our city. And, the Mayor's tax increases have made it more difficult for entrepreneurs, small businesses and working families to survive and succeed in our city.

I am open to discussing our records and discussing the issues, but to attack me personally and attempt to mislead the public with distorted facts is the worst type of politics. The Mayor has claimed to not be political, but his attack ads are nothing more than a vastly political move to try and keep his job.

We can do better.

That’s why I continue to be committed to improving educational outcomes, creating jobs, spurring economic development, and fighting crime by putting more than 100 officers back on the street and restoring crime prevention grants.

We have critical issues to address in order to move our city forward and that’s exactly what I’m focused on doing.

Thanks for your continued support.

Melina Kennedy

Now, you might say that what's good for the goose is good for the gander and that Melina went negative first. I would dispute how negative she has gone. She really has not been all that negative. I'd say she's been more comparative, but that's neither here nor there. The Mayor is clearly feeling heat. The kid gloves are coming off, and it's probably only going to get worse. The campaign appears to be "game on" now, and the momentum is in Kennedy's court.

The bigger question in this poll is how can 21 percent of the electorate still be undecided about an incumbent Mayor. Furthermore, how is he polling 12 points below 50 percent. Mayor Bart Peterson's numbers didn't deflate until, essentially, the last two weeks of the campaign.

Things are getting purty interestin' around these here parts.


Anonymous said...

Ballard's entire political career has been focused on the negative because he has no vision. Four years ago, Ballard said the budget was too big and spent too much. As Mayor he said he would cut the budget, eliminate the local option income tax and work to eliminate property taxes. He has attempted to accomplish none of these promises. By the way, even with the cuts this year, the budget is bigger than ever. I like Georgia Street. If he changes it, Melina should promise to rename it.

Will Jackson said...

It's politics, negative comes with the territory! If no one was going negative, I would check to see if they had a pulse....

Alex Ralston said...

This ad says two things to me:

1) The mayor himself won't directly go after Melina (for now, at least) for fear he'll appear mean and alienate female voters. So he uses women to attack her.

[Shrewd or savvy? Either way, the ad plays Twister with the facts. Left elbow: we need to somehow tie her to a tax increase, whether or not she had anything to do with it. Right foot: we'll do it with women! Back-patting and high-fives all around.]

2) Concern, or outright panic. This ad was ready to go the moment the mayor's campaign team felt like things were starting to slip away. I'm just not sure they thought that slippage would begin on September 22.

Melina has managed to dictate the terms of this campaign. The mayor has had to play catch up on every issue. Catch up. When he had a 3-year head start.

The 25th floor doesn't have enough water to put out all the fires -- mounting job losses; perception of crime; downtown businesses struggling; Straub; Georgia Street's unnecessary renaming; neighborhood demolition-palooza; the Fountain Square construction debacle. The list goes on and on.

In many ways, his going negative is understandable. His campaign team is full of rookies. Distraction is all they've got. Unless they really want to highlight his negotiations of bad deals for city taxpayers and handouts to major corporate supporters.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Wow. I never guessed it would be the Mayor who first attacked on the tax issue. Talk about setting up Melina Kennedy on an issue where she clearly has an edge.

Where Ballard is the most vulnerable is with his Republican base. If 1/5 of them turn on Ballard, which is quite possible because of his record, he's dead in the water.

Either Ballard is not listening to his political advisers or those advisers are the worst political advisers ever. Raising the tax issue is not something Ballard in a million years should want to do.