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Campaign Advertising


Where is candidate Clinton? ... wise and good (e.g., Clinton's 'Journey' ad, 1992) ... 1992 Clinton, 'Journey' 2004 G.W. Bush, 'Safer, Stronger,' 'Wolves' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Campaign Advertising

Campaign Advertising
  • POLS 125 Political Parties Elections

The idea that you can merchandise candidates for
high office like breakfast cereal-that you can
gather votes like box tops-is, I think, the
ultimate indignity to the democratic
process. Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965)
From Broadsides to Broadcasts
In 1888, a British scholar named James Bryce
described U.S. presidential campaigns this way
For three months, processions, usually with
brass bands, flags, badges, crowds of cheering
spectators, are the order of the day and night
from end to end of the country. Such business,
he said, pleases the participants by making them
believe they are effecting something it
impresses the spectators by showing them the
other people are in earnest, it strikes the
imagination of those who in country hamlets read
of the doings in the great city. In short, it
keeps up the boom, and an American election is
held to be, truly or falsely, largely a matter of
booming. Much has changed since Bryces time.
Most Americans now experience presidential
campaigns not as parade spectators, but from the
privacy of our own living rooms. The way in
which presidential candidates reach out to voters
has been altered fundamentally by changing
From Broadsides to Broadcasts
  • Over the course of 100 days in the campaign of
    1896, William Jennings Bryan, by his own account,
    made 600 speeches in 27 states. He traveled over
    18,000 miles to reach 5 million people.
  • In a single fireside chat delivered while seated
    in his very own parlor a generation later,
    Franklin D. Roosevelt was able to reach 12 times
    that number by radio.

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1975 Memo from Bob Mead to Dick Cheney and Donald
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Follow Me Around
Creating an image
Which is it?
  • The media are a convenient scapegoat for our
    myriad ills (Stuckey)
  • OR
  • The media distort politics with their simple,
    character-driven narratives (Peretz).

A Typology of Media Effects
There are 3 kinds of media effects
  • Persuasion
  • Agenda-setting
  • Priming

Some say there is a law of minimal effects.
The media tend to reinforce the publics
preferences it rarely alters them.
The War Room
  • In The War Room, James Carville says of the
    1992 Clinton campaign We changed the say
    political campaigns are run. What does he mean?
  • Who are the major characters in the
    documentary? Who do Carville and Stephanopolous
    work for? Where is candidate Clinton?
  • Micro-management of political spin and strategy
    (e.g., the color and shape of convention signs
    creating a mixed message).

Political Advertising
Click on the icon above to view an extensive
archive of presidential campaign ads.
A Guide to Campaign Advertisements
  • NAME CALLING Often referred to as attack ads.
    Makes assertions about the opponents in a
    variety of unflattering ways.
  • GLITTERING GENERALITIES Name calling in reverse
    While name calling seeks to make up form a
    judgment to reject or condemn without examining
    the evidence, the Glittering Generality device
    seeks to make us approve and accept without
    examining the evidence.
  • TRANSFER Uses popular symbols to create a
    positive connotation for the candidate, or
    negative or controversial symbols to create a
    negative connotation of the opponent (e.g.,
    Reagans Morning in America ad, 1984, Bushs
    Safer, Stronger ad, 2004).
  • TESTIMONIAL References to and endorsements from
    celebrities and other well-known people (e.g.,
    Kerrys Rassman ad, 2004).
  • PLAIN FOLKS Demonstrating that they candidate
    is just as common as the rest of us, and
    therefore, wise and good (e.g., Clintons
    Journey ad, 1992).
  • CARD STACKING Use of statistics, usually in a
    one-sided manner to create a smoke screen. Using
    under-emphasis and over-emphasis to dodge issues
    and evade facts.
  • BANDWAGON Appealing to the desire of voters to
    follow the crowd. Usually directs appeals to
    groups held together by common ties (e.g.,
    Evangelicals, farmers, school teachers, etc).
    All the artifices of flattery are used to harness
    the fears and hatreds, prejudices and biases,
    convictions and ideals common to a group.

These 7 devices were identified by the Institute
for Propaganda Analysis in 1938
Memorable Ads
  • 1964 Johnson, Daisy
  • 1984 Reagan, Bear in the Woods, Morning in
  • 1988 G.H.W. Bush, Revolving Door
  • 1992 Clinton, Journey
  • 2004 G.W. Bush, Safer, Stronger, Wolves
  • 2008 Obama, Yes We Can
  • 2012 Obama, Understands, Firms, Romney,
    These Hands

Negative Ads as a Percentage of Total, 1952-2004
Do negative ads work?
Source Darrell M. West, Air Wars (2005) 61.
Buying Air Time
In 2004, George W. Bush and John Kerry spent
about 125 million each for 4 million ad airings.
Ohio and Florida were the top ad targets, but
the campaigns also poured a considerable amount
of money into ads aired in Wisconsin,
Pennsylvania, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan,
and Minnesota.
In contrast, the group known as Swift Boat
Veterans for Truth aired their controversial
adjust 739 times in a small number of media
markets where only 2.1 of the American
population lived. Because of the free media
attention it generated, by mid-September nearly
2/3 of those polled said they had heard of the
ads, and 1/3 of those said they believed the
charges were true.
The cost of television advertising has risen
astronomically over time.
Which is it?
  • The media are a convenient scapegoat for our
    myriad ills (Stuckey)
  • OR
  • The media distort politics with their simple,
    character-driven narratives (Peretz).

The Desktop Candidate
According to the Pew Internet and American Life
  • 60 of internet users said they went online to
    get news or information about the 2008 elections.
  • 38 of internet users, or about 43 million
    people, said they used e-mail to discuss
    politics. One of the most popular e-mail subjects
    was jokes about the candidates and the election.
  • 11 of internet users, or more than 13 million
    people, went online to engage directly in
    campaign activities such as donating money,
    volunteering, or learning about political events
    to attend.

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The Desktop Candidate
According to the Pew Internet and American Life
  • 54 of voting-age Americans used the internet for
    political purposes during the 2010 midterm
  • 58 of online adults looked online for news about
    politics or the 2010 campaigns, and 32 of online
    adults got most of their 2010 campaign news from
    online sources.
  • In 2012, 66 percent of the adults using Twitter
    and Facebook did so in part to conduct civil and
    political activity.

How does the digital age change politics?
  • Speeds up the media cycle (e.g., Feiler Faster
  • Increased competition diversifies the information
  • Diminishes the influence of the mainstream media
  • Helps campaigns to micro-target supporters
  • Helps campaigns to solicit donations
  • Increases efficiency and lowers costs
  • Loosens control
  • More democratic

Main Sources of Campaign News, 2002-2010 Based
on all adults 2002 2006 2010
Television 66 69 67 Newspapers 33
34 27 Internet 7 15 24 Radio 13
17 14 Magazines 1 2 2 Source
The Pew Research Center's Internet American
Life Project, November 3-24, 2010 Post-Election
Tracking Survey. n2,257 national adults ages 18
and older, including 755 cell phone interviews.
Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.
Note totals may exceed 100 due to multiple
Internet Tools
  • Candidate websites
  • Blogs
  • Social networking
  • Video sharing
  • Twitter

I believe that the internet is the last hope for
For twenty years, people have been calling this
era of computers, the Internet, and
telecommunications the information age. But
thats not what it is. What were really in now
is the empowerment age. If information is power,
then this new technologywhich is the first to
evenly distribute informationis really
distributing power.
Raising Money on the Internet
Romneys Project ORCA
Instead of using paper strike lists, OCRA uses
smartphone technology to gather and send the data
in real time.
The Obama campaign likes to brag about their
ground operation, but its nothing compared to
A failure and an embarrassment. And I sensed it
the night before the election, when I called the
800 number for our final conference call and got
a busy signal.
Volunteers were not reminded to bring their poll
watchers certificate.
Obamas Project Narwahl
The new megafile didn't just tell the campaign
how to find voters and get their attention it
also allowed the number crunchers to run tests
predicting which types of people would be
persuaded by certain kinds of appeals. Call lists
in field offices, for instance, didn't just list
names and numbers they also ranked names in
order of their persuadability, with the
campaign's most important priorities first. About
75 of the determining factors were basics like
age, sex, race, neighborhood and voting record.
Consumer data about voters helped round out the
  • Supporters come to you, not the other way around
  • Drives down costs
  • Creates an emotional investment, which leads to
  • Loss of control from the top-down

Why did Dean fail?
  • Why did Dean fail to capture the Democratic
    nomination in 2004?
  • Did the internet fall short of the hype to
    revolutionize political campaigns and
  • Did old media attack Dean because his use of
    the internet threatened their power?
  • Or, is the candidate himself to blame? In other
    words, would Trippis style of campaigning have
    succeeded with a better candidate at the helm?

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Election Night Coverage
How Exit Polls Work
  • Pollsters working for the National Election Pool
    (NEP) first draw a random sample of precincts
    from within each state. In 2004, interviewers
    were sent to 1,495 precincts across the country.
  • On Election Day, One (or sometimes two)
    interviewers stand outside the polling place in
    each sampled precinct and randomly select about
    100 voters as they leave, evenly spread
    throughout the day. They may, for instance, adopt
    a set pattern by selecting every 10th voter, or
    every 20th voter.
  • If a voter refuses to participate, their gender,
    race, and approximate age are recorded by the
    interviewer so that statistical corrections can
    be made later to adjust for any bias.
  • Voters who agree to participate are given a small
    note card to fill out privately that includes
    roughly 25 questions.
  • Interviewers break occasionally to tabulate the
    results, and call those results in to the NEP a
    predetermined times of daysuch as 900 a.m.,
    300 p.m., etc.
  • Once the polls close, interviewers obtain actual
    turnout counts for their precinct, and if
    possible, actual vote returns. As the night
    wears on, those numbers are gradually
    incorporated into the exit poll results.
    Pollsters also use complex weighting schemes and
    algorithms to compare current data to historical
  • Finally, once all votes have been counted, the
    exit poll is weighted by the vote to match the
    actual result.

Source http//
Why Cant We Trust Numbers Leaked Early in the
  • It is still just a survey, with the usual amount
    of sampling errorin most states /- 4 at the
    end of the day. Mid-day numbers could be /- 7
    or more.
  • Mid-day numbers do not reflect weighting by
    actual turnout. At most, they may be adjusted to
    reflect past turnout.
  • Voting patterns are different early in the day.
    People who work full-time jobs typically vote
  • Exit polls do not include early or absentee
    voting. In 2004, the NEP tried to compensate
    with a telephone poll in some states, but that
    may or may not have been used to produce mid-day
  • Numbers leaked on the internet could be
    completely phony.

Source http//
Exit Polls What Went Wrong?
In 2004, exit polls leaked on the internet to
sites such as the Drudge Report showed John Kerry
leading George W. Bush in Florida, Ohio, New
Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Iowaall states
which Bush ultimately won. Conspiracy-minded
bloggers on the internet later speculated that
the exit polls were right, and the vote tallies
wrong, and wondered aloud about the potential for
widespread vote fraud. The problem, however, was
clearly with the polls themselves, which produced
an average error of 1.9 per precinct in Kerrys
favor. What went wrong?
  • The early numbers leaked on the internet were
    raw and unweighted, and never intended for
    public disclosure.
  • The National Election Poll (NEP) oversampled
    women early in the day. Their 100 p.m. release
    contained a sample 59 women the 400 p.m.
    release had 58 women.
  • Participation in exit polls is voluntary. Kerry
    voters were more eager to be interviewed by
    pollsters than Bush voters, creating a
    non-response bias.

Source http//
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