Experts: Fear in 'Yes on 1' ads changed the outcome

LEWISTON — Television ads about gay marriage made the difference in the yes side winning on Question 1 in Tuesday's election, political experts said Wednesday.

A "yes" vote favored repealing Maine's law allowing same-sex couples to marry.

The "No on 1" campaign had effective ads, but many were soft right to the end, which helped their opponents, pundits said.

"The 'Yes on 1' entire strategy seemed to be based on building fear of the unknown," such as saying homosexuality would be taught in schools, said Colby College political science professor Sandy Maisel.

"It made the outcome," Maisel said. "This was a classic case of American politics and hope versus fear. And fear won." The fear had nothing to do with the facts, he said, but the ads' strategy was to get people to the polls. "That's what they did."

Bowdoin College government professor Christian Potholm said the "No on 1" campaign had "by far" the best ads until two weeks ago.

In the past two weeks, the "no" side should have made people afraid of what would happen if they voted yes, Potholm said. The campaign instead showed warm and fuzzy footage of Maine families, ads that had already been seen. Dire warnings were missing.

 The "Yes on 1" ads told voters they didn't have to feel bad about themselves if they voted yes, Potholm said. "You could like gays, but you don't have to let them get married. That made it easy for people to vote yes."

A prominent national blog, Queerty, on Wednesday credited the "No on 1" campaign with working tirelessly but said it had a "weak" advertising campaign.

One television ad after another "played nice," showing normalized families that didn't deserve to be discriminated against, rather than painting a doomsday scenario of what would happen if Question 1 passed: "Voters will approve discrimination," the blogger wrote.

University of Maine at Farmington political professor James Melcher said both sides played to Maine's independence in different styles. The "no" side ads said: "Why should the state interfere with my right to marry;" the "yes" side warned: "They're going to mess with your kids if this goes through."

However, in the past 10 years television ads have lost some of the hold on voters, said Karl Trautman, chairman of the Social Sciences Department at Central Maine Community College. Voters today also are influenced by online social networking and blogs, he said.

Television ads are part of the mix, "but any campaign that blames defeat or victory on TV ads may be an overstatement," Trautman said. Both sides of Question 1 ran good campaigns, he said. "There weren't a lot of missteps."

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Melissa  Dunn's picture

I agree whole-heartedly that

I agree whole-heartedly that the commercials for yes on 1 didn't convey a very factual, legitimate rebuttal. It was scare-tactics that were used... 'fear of the unknown'. From the 'book' that was 'going' to be taught in Maine schools and so on-because we're like Mass. Even after yes on 1 won THIS time-people on SJ were still debating that churches would've been sued even though it stated in LD1020 protection for the churches/notary of the public, etc. who did not want to perform the marriage for same-sex couples (which churches are already protected in the Maine and US Constitution). There should've been more emphasis for those who weren't educated enough about the law-that LD 1020 was written as an 'extra' protection so-to-say AND more emphasis on the fact that the law was NOT a family law (that has already passed)-that THIS is a marriage law. Nothing more nothing less... so people who wanted to debate about same-sex couples and adopting children really have no basis-another fear tactic (for something that has already been passed). There are many benefits that heterosexual couples don't realize because its like 2nd nature to them-that same-sex UNMARRIED couples and couples who are in a civil union DO NOT HAVE... in life, in death, in parenting, in insurance... this is truly DISGUSTING at this day and age that we STILL have to overcome discrimination in our era! NOT just G/L/T, everyONE-from color of skin, obesity, religion, appearance! When are we going to wake up as a society and realize our own faults and stop commanding for OTHER people who to live, breath, walk??? When are we going to stop thinking that 'our way is the only way' and you are WRONG so screw you! I always say this... and I will, I fear till the day that I day-that I just wish we could SEE one another... respect them, embrace them, welcome them. We need to have some compassion for others.

To all the Weirdo's who were

To all the Weirdo's who were planning same sex marriages if this passed ... hey look on the bright side MA. has the law go there get married & STAY THERE!!!

The only reason I can see

The only reason I can see for the failure of this(bull)bill, are the vast majority of Mainers are homophobic, and still living in the 20's and 30's. Religion has no rights sticking it's nose in politics in the first place. Religion and politic don't make a good mix under any circumstances.

Eric Potvin's picture

Quote: "This is so

Quote: "This is so one-sided, as the Sun Journal always is."

The SJ endorsed a 'Yes' vote.. That shows how much you paid attention now doesn't it.

 's picture

The bible also says some

The bible also says some other things are sins such as :
"Women shalt not teach, nor hold authority positions over men. (1 Timothy 2:11-15)
Thou shalt not wear clothes of mixed fibers. (Leviticus 19:19)"
or even better yet a whole list of sins from:
so yes the Bible does say that homosexuality is a sin - it also includes all of these other sins that I would highly doubt anyone has ever been pure of.

I am sure there are many ways for unmarried people to get similar benefits as you stated - but they are not as solid as if you were married. Somone was telling me that if you adopt a child and are not married- only one of the adults can actually be the legal parent. The other one has no rights to the child and I am sure this can cause the child to be in Limbo if somthing happens to the adoptive parent. That is pretty scary and one of the reasons that I have no problem with homosexuals getting married. It has no affect on me- but it is very important to them and that is what matters.

 's picture

I am not skirting around the

I am not skirting around the truth- I am saying that there are many sins in the Bible that are outdated and very few choose to follow. One of them was about eating shell fish and lobster...We live in Maine - should we not have any of these restaurants? People pick and choose the sins that they can live with. I know no one who would kill anyone who works on a Sunday - but it is in the Bible. That is the truth. Of course we are not going to make those state laws but if you are basing your morals around some of these biblical laws and not others it doesn't seem quite fair.

Actually there are a lot of things that can go wrong with willing your children to people. I have done some quick research and there is a lot of information to go through. What I have gathered so far is that there is a law in 21 states that you can appointment a standby gaurdian which can make a transition after a single parents dealth simpler. Maine does not appear to have this law. Other than that the Judge can put a child into temporary foster care until placing the child with the willed parent. So it does happen. That is the truth.
If you care to read about it any furthur this is where I found my information.
A legal guide for lesbian and gay couples By Denis Clifford, Frederick Hertz, Emily Doskow, Hayden Curry
Along with;

Sarah LaPierre's picture

If all 50 states vote

If all 50 states vote against gay marriage, the only thing I will be convinced of is that this is a country of hate and bigotry, whose critical thinking is based on a book, rather than actually opening up their minds and thinking for themselves. You voted FOR discrimination. You effectively said, that in this great, free country who's founding principles were *not* christianity, but the freedom to worship (or not) as you see fit, that it is ok to hate, again, because ONE book told you so.


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