Gubernatorial race heats up with smear ads

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There are just about three weeks to go until Election Day, and the attack ads seem to be reaching a new level of nastiness. KRQE News 13 wanted to know how effective these ads really are, and what the public thinks of them.

“In terms of gubernatorial races, this is a little nastier than what we’re used to seeing in the recent history,” said Gabriel Sanchez, UNM Political Science professor.

Election Day is approaching and the claws are coming out.

“Michelle Lujan-Grisham exposed by news reports for shady self-dealing,” one smear ad states.

“Just because Donald Trump gets away with lying, don’t let Steve Pearce do it too,” another ad states. 

The Political Action Committees – better known as PACs – are not associated with the candidates, but they are the ones behind many of the ads bashing the candidates up for election.

“That’s one thing that makes it difficult to actually determine if this is accurate or not,” Sanchez said.

It’s basically the wild west, where the group behind an ad can say pretty much anything they want, leaving candidates asking themselves if they should respond to the accusations.

When they do respond, Sanchez says it tells us something about the race.

“I think the fact that you’re seeing some on both sides, Pierce and Lujan-Grisham, digging into this a little bit… it gives some indication that it is probably tighter than what we thought it would be at this point in the race,” he said.

But are smear ad’s actually effective? 

“Attack ads do not work for highly informed really knowledgeable voters who are not really paying attention to what they see on the TV ads,” he said. “They’re actually making their opinion based on underlying policy.”

Those KRQE News 13 spoke to agree.

“It should be about the people and about the campaign and not about each other,” said Albuquerque resident, Angel Guanajuato. “It sounds like they’re putting on a drama for us to watch rather than actually trying to educate people on what they’re doing.”

“I think it’s childish because they’re just throwing dirt on each other and it shouldn’t be like that,” said Bryan Garcia, Albuquerque resident.

The governor’s race isn’t the only one that has gotten really nasty. The congressional race in District 2 between Xochitl Torres-Small and Yvette Herrell is taking on a similar tone.

Professor Sanchez suspects the attack ads could be worse this election because of the precedent set by the presidential election.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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