Is targeted direct mail the best way to tar an opponent while minimizing backlash? Today’s much-blogged-about Post article on GOP plans for negative campaigning in the Fall contains this nugget, which I’ll expand on:
Direct-mail appeals often carry the most negative and potentially damaging messages. Dan Hazelwood, a leading GOP direct mail consultant, said that if a hypothetical Democratic candidate favors the establishment of a garbage dump in a section of the district, for instance, it makes more sense to “narrow-cast” this message by mail to the people most affected rather than buying an expensive, districtwide television ad.
A little behind-the-scenes database work can put a negative message in front of a carefully chosen group, keeping it away from other voters who might be offended by the its tone and also saving the campaign money. Geo-targeting is just the beginning.