Elizabeth Dole’s Godless Ad Backfired November 13, 2008

Elizabeth Dole’s Godless Ad Backfired

Democratic pollster John Anzalone says that Elizabeth Dole‘s “Godless” ad against North Carolina Senate seat opponent Kay Hagandoomed Dole’s chances to keep the race close.”

Hagan’s numbers “skyrocketed” after the ad was aired.

“It would have been a much closer race [if she didn’t air the Godless ad]. Kay would have won by 3-4 points but instead she won big,” Anzalone said. “I just think Dole, in the end, did herself a disservice. She was going to lose that race, but she did not need to lose that race by that margin.”

As long as we keep pushing back, those kinds of ads will not work for any future candidates. Atheists are not a problem in society. We need to keep calling out anyone who says otherwise.

(via The Daily Dish)

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  • Mike Bartram

    But so often that kind of ad does work. In fact, it usually does. Why not in the Dole v. Hagan case.

  • benjdm

    I tried to put this in the ‘atheism shouldn’t be feared in politics’ comments, but I don’t think it took. Here’s a longer article about the effects of the ad:


  • J Myers

    Here’s a version of benjdm’s link that works.

  • Eric

    Unfortunately, I’m not so sure if that’s the correct conclusion Hemant. I think that some of it was because Dole accused a Christian of being an atheist. I’m not convinced it would go over the same way if a non-theist (or even non-Christian) ran.

  • mikespeir

    I agree with Eric. Dole got bombed because she came off looking like a liar who was trying to smear another Christian.

  • Thanks, J Myers.

  • timplausible

    The ad backfired because people think atheism is so amazingly bad. It was like calling Hagan a nazi with a straight face. That’s why people got outraged. Hagan’s numbers shot up because she appeared to be the subject of such an outrageous attack that it promoted sympathy. Hagan’s victory, while much better than a Dole victory, wasn’t really a victory for atheists. The whole episode was a victory for anti-atheist bigots.

  • pansies4me

    I totally agree with timplausible on this.

  • Doug Stewart

    Can you imagine if Dole was running against Pete Stark? Because there’s justification for calling Stark a “Godless American”, I think the ad would have worked. So, this wasn’t even a victory for anti-atheist bigots.

    The really sad thing is that Hagan didn’t even acknowledge that atheist have freedom of speech and the right to an opinion too. She just defended herself by pointing out how religious she was. So, I get the idea that the public agreed that associating with atheists is really bad, but having your opponent lie about you being an atheist is really really bad.

    If I wanted to be elected to office I think I’d cover up my atheism by becoming a cross dressing homosexual Muslim with a skin disorder.

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