On the Mass. Politics Profs blog, UMass Boston associate professor of political science Erin O'Brien writes about a new PAC ad attacking Martha Coakley for facilitating child abuse in Massachusetts. 

Regardless of whether or not you like him, and ignoring a certain CNN moment, Karl Rove has been one of the most effective political campaign consultants of the modern era.  And his go-to play is turning an opponent’s strength into a weakness.  The “vulnerable” ad is best understood in this context.

Political science research on women and politics indicates that when women run they are just as likely to win – and this is a recent change.  It also indicates that women are judged more effective on “compassion” issues like childcare, education, and social welfare issues than male candidates.  In the aggregate, male candidates have the edge when the issues dominating the campaign season are things like budgeting and the defense. 

Read the full post here