Governor Perry's latest ad, entitled "Strong", attracted roughly 750,000 views on YouTube in two days. In it, the governor decries the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He also promises to end what he calls President Obama's "war on religion." Perry starts off by saying he's not ashamed to admit he's a Christian.
"But you don't have to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school..."
Only about 3,800 viewers clicked "like", while nearly 175,000 clicked "dislike." Some commenters declared the ad promotes hatred and violence, and YouTube should take it down. Brandon Rottinghaus is Associate Professor of political science at UH. He says those commenters are more representative of the general electorate.
"His strategy right now is to ignore the general public at this stage, and focus in on the voters who are of very conservative stripe, but who are also very active. And that is going to be his strategy for trying to pry off some of the votes that have been siphoned by Newt Gingrich."
Rottinghaus says, by hitting cultural issues so strongly, Perry has found a way to differentiate himself from the front-runners in Iowa. And it's a message Perry can take with him to other early primary states.