$2 Billion In Political Ads Hoping to Sway 800,000 Voters

There are an estimated 800,000 swing state voters who enter election season undecided, and the two presidential campaigns will spend $2 billion in TV advertising hoping to persuade them. But according to U Penn political scientist Diana Mutz, who spoke to NPR,

“There’s very little evidence that ads make much of a difference in a presidential campaign.”

For you optimists out there who had hoped the ginormous injection of corporate money into American politics made possible by Citizens United would improve our democracy, this is terrible news. However, if you believe that stimulus spending during a recession might create jobs, yet you’d rather avoid bloating federal spending further with another stimulus program, modern presidential elections might be just be the winning ticket. We should have one every year until the Koch brothers help get us all back to work — selling TV ads, if we must.

UPDATE 10/30/12: Turns out social-media excitement doesn’t have much real political effect either.

  1. # Tac Anderson said: October 29th, 2012 at 8:50 am

    So if my math is right (which is iffy on a good day), that’s $2.5 million per undecided, swing state, voter. Seems like there could have been a more efficient way to spend that money.

  2. # Chas said: October 29th, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Tac, I think you’ve got your decimal place in the wrong spot. But still. Why not just send $2500 to each of those voters and save all the noise?!

Leave a Reply