Politics 101: Criticizing Your Opponent Makes Her Less Popular

In the wake of Sarah Palin’s nomination, a surprising number of people — some of whom weren’t even operating in bad faith — suggested that the smart thing to do when faced with a popular political opponent would be to avoid attacking her, lest the attacks cause a backlash. Looking at the Research 2000 tracking poll data, however, confirms common sense — when you attack someone, she becomes less popular:

That’s her net favorable rating over time.