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Vik Rubenfeld

Vik Rubenfeld is a 20-year veteran of the polling and market research industry and founder of Rubenfeld Research Associates.
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Report from Egypt: Violence Against Morsi Supporters Is a Response to Bombing, Kidnapping, Torture and Killing

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013 - by Vik Rubenfeld

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My blog has a correspondent on the ground in Egypt, Huda N. (not her real name). She reports that the recent violence by the army against Morsi supporters is a response to violence committed by Morsi supporters:

These are pictures taken from the protests that were called upon by General El-sisi to support the army in their fight against terrorism. The general El -Sisi called upon these protests after the escalating violence of the brotherhood and their supporting Islamic terrorist groups who have been terrifying the Egyptian people since the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi on the 3rd July, 2013.   The acts of violence include bombing, kidnapping, torture, armed attacks on police forces and the army this is in addition to wide heavy armed attacks in North of Sinai. People are fed up with these acts and the hands of the armed forces and police forces are tied due to the international pressure which supports the Muslim brotherhood.

…Due to an unremitting international pressure on Egyptian interim government, especially by American Ambassador in Cairo Ann Patterson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to release detained ousted President Mohamed Morsi and Muslim brotherhood leaders, the army chief General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has urged Egyptians to go down to all squares of Egypt on Friday 26th July, 2013 to support and to mandate the Egyptian armed forces and the police forces to confront violence and terrorism. General El-Sisi asked Morsi supporters to refrain from violence in their protests.

…The people of Egypt in their awareness of the dangerous attempts of the Islamist parties to drag Egypt into a civil war have taken to the streets by the millions. The people took to the streets to protest against the violence, torture to opposition, bombing and killing practiced by the Muslim brotherhood in the streets of Egypt.

Huda reports that the actions of the Obama administration are alienating Egypt and driving Egypt into the orbit of Moscow:

President Obama in a sign of disapproval of the call of General El-Sisi halted the 4 F-16 fighter jets deal to the Egyptian Air Forces. “Trying to break the neck of the Brotherhood is not going to be good for Egypt or for the region,” said a White House official. While Angela Merkel said:  “The Egyptian authorities must release immediately Mohamed Morsi and all political detainees.” And “Egypt must not exclude the Muslim Brotherhood from the new political roadmap.”

…People during the protests demonstrated that Mrs. Ann Patterson is a persona non grata in Egypt. They carried pictures of President Obama in the form of Bin Laden crossed with a red X. Contrary to that they carried pictures of President Putin high together with General El-Sisi.  

Huda N. states that the Obama administration is greatly deceived regarding the Muslim Brotherhood:

There is a great shift in policy dealing with Islamist groups by USA government after September 11 attacks and the current Obama government embracing these Islamic groups rather than fighting them.  The key reason why the United States and Germany support the Muslim Brotherhood is the false belief that it is a moderate Islamic group and the repression of such groups creates more radical Jihadists movements. …USA and German governments tend to forget that the Muslim Brotherhood is the grandfather of every Jihadist and Islamic-fundamentalist movement in the Middle East and that their decree is violence.

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Go Negative or Go Home

Thursday, November 15th, 2012 - by Vik Rubenfeld

For many years the GOP has considered itself to be above negative ads. For the most part, it doesn’t run them, and it doesn’t respond to them.  But now it is impossible to avoid seeing the cost of this policy.

The public says it doesn’t like negative ads. But they work. From researcher Drew Weston:

The voters we surveyed claimed to despise both [negative] ads, describing them in focus groups as “pandering.” They insisted the ads would backfire with them. But using a well-established method for assessing which words the commercials activated unconsciously, we discovered that although voters consciously disliked both commercials, the ads were nevertheless highly effective. Both “stuck,” triggering negative associations with Obama and McCain in the minds of most viewers, including those who thought they were unaffected. When viewing the face of Obama, the words most strongly activated by the “3 a.m.” ad were “weak,” “lightweight,” “terrorist” and “Muslim.” The word that stuck unconsciously after the “McSame” ad was “Bush.”

Viewers may have rejected the ads consciously, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t unconsciously affected.

From DiscoveryNews:

…the power of negativity may lie in its ability to compel people to seek out more information about candidates, in turn influencing the undecided.

“Advertising matters at the margins,” said political scientist Erika Franklin Fowler, director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political advertising at Wesleyan University in Conn. “We never see ads that take a candidate from 20 percent to 70 percent of the vote. But when you have a country that is divided 50/50, every percentage point counts. That’s where advertising makes a difference.”

Negativity has been around as long as elections have, Fowler said, but the practice has recently become more prevalent than ever.

Obama blasted Romney relentlessly with negative ads in swing states. In August, Forbes stated that “about 85% of the president’s ads have been negative.” Yet Romney considered it beneath him to respond. From Dick Morris on October 3:

Bill Clinton and I used to share a proverb: Never sleep under the same roof with an unanswered negative. Always, always, always, always answer.

For some reason, Romney has refused to answer the negatives Obama has heaped upon his head month after month. He calls Romney a tax cheat who hates the poor, can’t wait to destroy Medicare, and only cares about the rich.

This pounding has taken a severe toll on Romney’s image. He is now underwater (i.e., with more unfavorables than favorables).

There are truly large numbers of voters who want, heart and soul, to vote against Barack Obama. They know the economy is falling apart. They realize that the debt has made things worse. They agree that higher taxes and more regulation is the wrong way to go. They see now the naiveté and futility of Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world.

But the steady drumbeat of Obama’s unanswered negative ads has so eroded Romney’s image that these voters remain undecided. Obama’s paid negative ads have not cut a broad swath but they have tipped enough anti-Obama voters into the undecided column that they are now making the difference.

Romney only lost by 400,000 votes in the swing states of Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Colorado. The likelihood that he could have won had he merely responded to the negative ads in these swing states appears to be high.

Two different actions are required of conservatives who are serious about winning elections. We must respond to negative ads the day they come out. “Never sleep under the same roof with an unanswered negative.” And we must launch negative ads of our own.  With our candidates being pounded to pieces by negatives, we must make our opponents pay the political price.

When the opposing candidate is fighting with fire, we must respond with fire — or lose. Again.

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