The Speed of Today’s Campaigns: Does it Matter?

This YouTube video was posted on the Democratic Rapid Response YouTube channel. According to the information on the side of the post, the last activity on the channel was yesterday. As you’ll notice, there is actually plenty of footage from the debate itself. This means the video – which looks pretty good – must have gone up within hours of the conclusion of the debate. My guess – and it would be great if someone in the know could confirm this – is that they were ready to go with most of the footage and were counting on Romney to produce some cringe worthy moments during the debate. Either way, it is pretty impressive:

It seems to me that there are a number of good papers waiting to be written on these sort of rapid response ads. Most basically, I wonder how many people see them? More generally, though, I wonder how much potential they have to drive media coverage of the event, and to frame the take away point from the debate. (e.g., I found this add through the Politico website in a story on the debate in, actually, a blog entry as opposed to even a featured article.) Can they exacerbate already existing problems for candidates? Finally, I wonder if these rapid response adds posted on YouTube could function as a laboratory to test out which adds are most effective. So you run a bunch of rapid response ads on the internet, see which ones generate the most traction, and then decide which ones to spend your money on in a TV buy. Obviously, there is a much larger question out there about whether ads matter at all , but for now I’m just focusing on the more specific question of the effects of rapid response ads.

Anyway, just thought I’d throw these ideas out there. If anyone has done any research on the topic already, please mention it in the comments below. Also feel free to suggest other interesting research questions.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Joshua Tucker

Joshua Tucker is a Professor of Politics at New York University.