Which political ads are most effective: the ones that report something positive about a candidate or negative about the opponent?
Midterm elections are less than one month away, and with control of the Senate at stake as well as close state races in play, it has been become impossible to turn on the TV and not see at least one (or two, or five) political ads. A recent study suggests that the ad campaigns are just getting warmed up.
The report by the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity finds that Illinois alone has seen a roughly 30 percent increase in the number of TV ads and the money spent to air them. Candidates for Illinois offices spent more than $26.4 million to air an estimated 34,589 ads between the Jan. 1, 2013 and Sept. 8 of this year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. This is up about $20.5 million for an estimated 26,554 ads during about the same period in 2010.
But are these ads effective? A new survey conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner finds that Affluent households overwhelmingly self-report not being influenced by political advertising. Nearly eight-in-ten (77 percent) said that their voting decision has never been affected by political ads.
Tellingly, the youngest respondents under the age of 50, who tend to be more media and tech-savvy, are most likely to report that they are not swayed by political advertising (81 percent vs. 74 percent of Baby Boomers and 69 percent of households over the age of 60.
Among political parties, independents consider themselves more immune to the persuasion of political ads (80 percent vs. roughly three-fourths of Democrats and Republicans.
For those whose voting decisions have been affected by political advertising, Affluent respondents were about split over how their decisions were impacted with 51 percent saying they had learning something positive about their candidate and 49 percent saying they have learned something negative about the opponent.
Between men and women, the latter were more likely to be influenced by learning something negative about their opponent (51 percent vs. 46 percent). Likewise respondents 50 and under responded than older households to learning something negative about an opponent than something positive about their candidate (roughly half compared with 45 percent of Baby Boomers).
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.