Mass. Voters Exhausted By Incessant Campaign Arm-Twisting

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Voters on Tuesday line up on Boylston Street outside the Boston Public Library. (Abby Peel via Instagram)
Voters on Tuesday line up on Boylston Street outside the Boston Public Library. (Abby Peel/Instagram)

It's crunch time for the candidates — and not a moment too soon, according to many campaign-weary voters. As political candidates made their last-minute push Monday, their appeals to voters hit a fever pitch. The Election Eve barrage of robo-calls, TV spots, direct mail and online ads made many anxious for the election to be over.

It's not just the incessant telephone calls. It's not just the campaign volunteers at your door. It's not just turning on the TV and seeing political ads ad infinitum. In Burlington, Lynn Zeuthen could't even turn on her computer without seeing a glut of political Facebook posts.

"When my friends start saying things in their posts," she said, "like 'They're gonna lose respect for their friends if they vote for one candidate over another,' I just think that’s taking it a little too far. So I just got really annoyed with that, and I want the election to be done with."

Voters such as Zeuthen aren't the only ones annoyed with the seemingly endless campaign. Even former President Bill Clinton sounded weary of it all in a robo-call he recorded for U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren.

In many ways, Bay State voters are not used to being at the center of a perfect political storm. Until Scott Brown came along two years ago, Democrats had a stranglehold on the Massachusetts congressional delegation. Nowadays, the two U.S. Senate candidates have to compete for airtime against TV spots targeted at the presidential swing state of New Hampshire.

It's even worse on the North Shore, where some of the nastier ads this election have been running in the House race between Democratic U.S. Rep. John Tierney and his Republican challenger, Richard Tisei. That is, until Tisei aired an unconventional 30-second TV ad last week simply showing waves crashing on a Gloucester beach.

Ironically, the biggest rally in Massachusetts on the day before Election Day was not for a political candidate, but rather for the incumbent rock band Aerosmith, which played a free outdoor concert on Commonwealth Avenue. Among the music fans grateful for a reprieve from all the election arm-twisting was Mike Blackiemore.

"The new commercial with that little girl crying?" Blackiemore asked rhetorically. "Yeah, that's how I feel."

In case you missed it, he’s talking about this viral video of a 4-year-old crying that she's tired of hearing about "Bronco Bamma" and Mitt Romney.

Blackiemore is also looking forward to not feeling that way much longer.

"It's tiresome," he said. "Another day and it'll all be over, you know. Ah, feels so good!"

But not every voter wishes the election wasn't plastered everywhere.

"You know, the more exposure the better," said David Greenhalgh. He says the reason it's in your face is because it's so high stakes.

"If you don't like it you can tune it out," Greenhalgh said. "For me, it's a reminder that it's election time, and it's an important part of being an American. And the more exposure and awareness that it gets, I think is only a good thing."

After all, Greenhalgh says, all the ads and stuffed mailboxes and canned phone calls will be over by the time the polls close Tuesday. But the candidates Massachusetts voters choose for will govern them for years.

This program aired on November 6, 2012.

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Curt Nickisch Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.



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