‘Political Insiders’ doubt that negative ads will hurt Curtis’ campaign

Our “Political Insiders” say the cacophony of negative ads against Provo Mayor John Curtis will not harm his candidacy in the GOP 3rd District primary election.

A number of outside groups have launched a series of blistering ads against Curtis, including the Club for Growth and the National Horizon super PAC. These ads attack Curtis for raising fees while mayor of Provo and his past affiliation with the Democratic Party. One radio ad attacks Curtis for having a “carefully untucked shirt.”

Candidates are not allowed to coordinate with these outside groups who are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts to either support or oppose a federal candidate.

Polls show Curtis is leading the race for the GOP nomination to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz in Congress.

Our “Political Insiders” say those ads will either have no effect or will backfire and will actually make voters more apt to vote for him.

  • 48% of the Republicans on our panel say the ads will backfire and help Curtis
  • 54% of the Democrats who responded to our question think the attack ads will end up helping Curtis
  • 57% of our readers think those attack ads will backfire and aid Curtis.


Selected anonymous comments:

I hate attack ads and believe a stand-up candidate would publicly demand they cease if they are supporting them and attacking their opponent.

It’s not just that he is being attacked, it’s the nature of the issues. The 3rd is one of the most conservative districts in the US. Curtis’ record may not fit.

They will hurt him, the more people learn about him the less they like him.

Negative attacks will hurt Curtis and Herrod. They look petty but people can’t help but take some of that information to heart.

Negative attacks are often indicative of a candidate who is behind and is desperate.

The attacks wreak of desperation from two campaigns with no meaningful message of their own.

There is a core group who will react to the attack ads, but the members of this group are likely to vote against Curtis anyway.

My Republican friends and neighbors in Holladay are turned off by the negative ads about Curtis.]

We are too polarized and Curtis is too moderate.

Tanner Ainge’s decision to go completely negative will not only hurt him in this election, it will significantly damage his future in Utah politics and rightly so. Maybe he’d have a better read on the electorate if he hadn’t just moved to Utah last November.

Utahns don’t react well to negative campaigning–especially when outside groups can’t spell Utahn.

It’s an act of desperation. Herrod’s ideology doesn’t resonate with the average Republican voter.

They are not attacks if they are true! He didn’t raise taxes, instead, he created new fees and got money that way…our utility bill has gone through the roof under Curtis and his “fees.”

I think people yawn at this type of thing. Thank goodness for the open primary.

“He’s one smooth politician with a carefully untucked shirt.” What the heck? Who writes these things? Utahns are too savvy to fall for negative campaigning, aren’t they?

Utahns are smart enough to figure things out for themselves. More often than not, negative campaigning doesn’t go over well here, especially when it’s from a group outside the state.

These so called “negative ads” seem to be a pretty accurate representation of John Curtis and his record.

Note that these attacks are funded by out of state conservative groups who want representatives that will do their narrowly focused agendas (no taxes, states’ rights, no health care, etc.) rather than someone who knows how to help people, serve the community, and has vision for an improved America for all, not just the rich or well connected.

There’s still plenty of Republicans in that district who voted for Bill Orton. Herrod is trying to pull a “Hail Mary,” but Chris, you’re no Jim McMahon.

They will hurt. Negative attacks always have an effect. But they do provide an opportunity for Curtis if he responds promptly and effectively. In any case, the harm will not be fatal to his candidacy.

To me, attacks from outside groups do two things: 1. Shows the weakness of a candidate who is defended by such ads, and 2. Can cause what I call the “underdog syndrome”. Some voters will root and maybe vote for the underdog if they think an unfair advantage is being taken against a popular candidate. I dislike groups from outside Utah who try to influence our own voters.

I think they will backfire if people pay attention to who is funding them and how regressively horrible what they want is.

Tanner Ainge’s negative attacks are a terrible play. Let Herrod and the DC groups attack Curtis and Ainge could have ended up the big beneficiary. Instead, he jumped right in the mud with Herrod with an absolutely terrible mailer.

Unfortunately, attack ads work and that’s why they’re used. It says something pretty bad about the campaigns who use them.

Utah voters tend to reject negative ads. Often, they will support the candidate being attacked to spite the folks who are running the negative ads.

Utahns don’t appreciate negative campaign material, there is a long history of candidates perceived to have gone negative losing the elections. Herrod is feeling the pressure of hitting the hard cap on his extremist support, his internal polling must be really bad to campaign against Curtis, rather than for the office.

The far right voters who care that Curtis was also a Democrat already know it and won’t vote for him. I think more mainstream voters are turned off by the attacks and bad photos on the mailers.

Utah ultimately knows how to see through mischief.

I was on the fence but the ads pushed me into the Curtis camp.

The energy feels like it’s all against John Curtis, and the sizable undecided vote could go anywhere.

They would normally backfire and help him, but then that’s an unpredictable district as is evidenced by Deidre Henderson’s surprising defeat.

John Curtis is being extremely dishonest about his leftist record, so it’s nice to finally see people exposing it. There’s nothing wrong with being a moderate or a liberal, but what is wrong is the way John Curtis has deliberately misled voters by running as far to the right as he possibly can. Just be who you are, John! Proudly proclaim your leftist record rather than pretend to be something you are not. The last thing Washington, DC needs is another dishonest politician.

I’m a Dem that switched to Republican just so I can have a voice in the third district. The Herrod ads are disgraceful. We. Are. Tired. Of. The. Attack. Ads.