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McCain "Lipstick on a Pig" Ad: Increases Perception of Obama Gender Bias But Doesn't Change Many Votes

Flemington, NJ September 10, 2008  – A new national focus group among 312 women who are self-reported Democrats, Republicans and Independents, revealed that after viewing a new McCain ad where Senator Obama is on screen using the phrase “Lipstick on a “Pig” suggested a significant increase in the perception that Senator Obama has a gender bias.
The study was conducted today by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO) to obtain Americans’ perceptions of a new ad by John McCain, which focuses on the “Lipstick on a Pig” comment that Barack Obama made at a rally in Virginia yesterday.
Prior to viewing the ad voters were presented with the following background:
At a rally in Lebanon, VA on September 9th, Senator Barack Obama argued that Senator John McCain's policies were similar to those of President George Bush. With the use of some controversial analogies, Obama claimed that Republican’s are trying to repackage themselves as agents of change. Obama said it was like putting "lipstick on a pig," a reference that the McCain camp said was a sexist dig at GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.”
Among the study findings:
Before and after viewing the ad voters were asked the question:
“Do you think that Barack Obama has a gender bias?”
                                       Percent indicating Yes
                                Prior to Viewing             After Viewing
Democrats                                7                                  9
Republicans                              44                                66
Independents                            17                                34
Among the study findings:
The ad earned John McCain a Political Communications Impact Score (PCIS) of 10.8   and Barack Obama received a score of 4.8 , resulting in a net score of 5.9 for John McCain. The scores can be compared to a mean score of 9.9 for previously tested Obama ads and 7.8 for previously tested McCain ads.  To date, the total mean score for all previously tested ads is 8.8.
The PCIS is a metric scoring system designed to gauge the effectiveness of political communications by generating a score for each candidate to monitor changes in voter perceptions. The PCIS score is derived from the change in voters’ support and the extent that the support shifts.  To view scores and results of recent studies go to:
The participants’ emotions were measured using the Ayer Emotion Battery. Participants were also asked pre- and post-viewing questions. To view detailed results go to:
The Media Curves web site provides the media and general public with a venue to view Americans’ perceptions of popular and controversial media events and advertisements.
Editors/Reporters: For more information on the study, or to speak with Glenn Kessler, president and CEO, HCD Research or Chris Borick, Ph.D., director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, please contact Vince McGourty, HCD Research, at (908) 483-9121 or (
HCD Research is a communications research company headquartered in Flemington, NJ.  The company's services include traditional and web-based communications research.  For additional information on HCD Research, access the company’s web site at or call HCD Research at 908-788-9393.  Headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, MCIPO is a respected source of public opinion data on local, state and national issues. For additional information on Muhlenberg College, go to
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