Bad or no opposition research can have a serious impact on a campaign. There can be devastating consequences from using information that is not properly vetted. In their battle against incumbents, Somerset County NJ Democrats sent out mailers highlighting the poor attendance records of republicans. Assemblyman Peter Biondi (R-Somerset) was singled out as having the worst record.
Highlighting Biondi’s record was where the whole thing came crashing down for democrats. Biondi had been battling a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In an instance what seemed like a fairly reasonable point to make turned into a media nightmare. Biondi’s health issues were not publicly known but many in the state capital were aware of his condition. Responding to media inquiries after the flyers were sent out Biondi said chemotherapy treatment had weakened him.
In a situation like this if your lucky your opponent will portray you are amateurish, sloppy, and running a bare bones campaign unable to fact check. At worst, the failure to do proper opposition research will lead to accusations you were fully aware of your opponent’s cancer and chose to ignore it because you are a ruthless, cut throat, unethical campaigner willing to do whatever it takes to win.