Political Ads: Not as Powerful as You (or Politicians) Think

Over at the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, I have a new post on the effects of political advertising in the 2012 presidential race.  I first use the map below to illustrate where it was that each candidate had advertising advantages when considering all national advertisements by the campaigns and their allies starting in April 2012.  I then estimate the effect of advertising in non-swing states, making use of the uneven mapping between television markets and swing state boundaries.

The takeaway?  The 2012 electorate was hard to persuade through television, with advertising effects much smaller than in 2008 but comparable to those in 2004.  In all likelihood, even major shifts in advertising would have produced only minor shifts toward the candidate benefiting from those shifts.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Dan Hopkins

Dan Hopkins is an assistant professor of government at Georgetown University.