“In terms of news coverage, all you have to do is look at headlines in papers across the state to see that his name is in the political headlines at least every third or fourth day. This is a considerable advantage to him at this stage in the race, because really, most people, the vast majority of people, aren’t paying close attention right now, but the more his name appears alongside those of Kaine and Kilgore in the headlines, which is all most people are looking at right now in terms of this race, the more credible he is going to be made out to be,” Christopher Newport University political-science professor and political analyst Quentin Kidd told the AFP.

The flip side to the attention being paid to Potts in the news media, Kidd said, is that research has shown that if a concerted effort is made to present a candidate or issue in a negative light, then voters will tend over time to view that candidate or issue in that light.

“That having been said, I’m less inclined right now to believe that this is going to drag Russ down,” Kidd said. “I believe in the end that when you balance out the positive impact of the name recognition that he receives from the mountain of news coverage with the negative tone of the attacks, there will be a net benefit for him in the end.”

Bridgewater College political-science professor and analyst David McQuilkin sees things from a vastly different perspective.

“The easy answer is yes, it will help him. But frankly, he’s being vilified in such a way that I’m not sure the name recognition that he’s gaining will do him a bit of good,” McQuilkin told the AFP.

“I suspect that the longer that he stays in the race, the more vituperative the abuse being heaped upon him will become,” McQuilkin said.

“For the rank-and-file Republicans out there, this is going to be a clear sign to stay away from him. It might help him among moderate Republican voters who decide to vote for him as a protest against the direction that the Republicans are taking the party in. But I don’t see that being significant enough to give him a fighting chance,” McQuilkin said.

So it may help Potts, it may not. And people may be paying attention to the ’05 state race now, they may not be.

Maybe the GOP is on to something. It’s really not necessary to say evil things about Potts, just say he’s more like Kaine. Which “might help him among moderate Republican voters.”

I’m getting more concerned that just maybe Potts does more harm to Kaine than to Kilgore.