Negative Ads Target Undecided

With just over two weeks until the November election, candidates across the country are doing their best to sway undecided voters.  Unfortunately much of the focus from both the national and local levels has been what most consider "attack ads".

As November 2 creeps closer and closer, the candidates continue their attacks on each other.  New this weekend, a television ad from John Kerry blaming the Bush administration for the recent shortage in flu vaccinations.

The Kerry ad is just another in a long line of attack ads from both sides.  While flashy, many East Texans say they're having no effect.

"I don't pay attention to any of them," said Troup resident Christy Hester.  "If it's for the candidate I'm voting for or the other I do my own investigation and look into the people I want to vote for myself."

It's not just the big boys that are taking the gloves off.  Local candidates Max Sandlin and Louie Gohmert have been locked in a heated race.  They too have chosen to go after each other through the airways.

Some of the ads don't even come from the candidates themselves. One recent ad, paid for by Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, criticizes the war record of John Kerry.  Independent groups have also had a hand in the Gohmert/Sandlin race.  Most voters say, 'let the candidates stand on their own'.

"I think you're going to have people that have made up their minds one way or the other and as far as the undecideds it just turns them off to voting all together," said Tyler resident Nate Lambert.

"I think each person can evaluate each candidates record and the negative ads don't serve either party well.  I think they are self serving and I don't think they switch many peoples vote," said Shane Ferguson.

With just 16 days left to decide, it's clear voters would choose less attacks, when trying to choose their candidates.

It's difficult to gauge what direct effect the negative ads have had on the nation as a whole.  The latest polls from Time and Newsweek show President Bush and John Kerry in a virtual tie.  The President slightly ahead at 48 percent and Kerry at 46 percent.

Chris Gibson, reporting