Advertising Issue Spotlight (8/1/18 – 8/31/18)

(MIDDLETOWN, CT) September 6, 2018 – The Wesleyan Media Project is releasing its second post in a series of regularly updated overviews of issue mentions in federal races by state. Below we show the number of ads that aired in House and Senate races in each state from August 1, 2018, to August 31, 2018.
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Read our other Issue Spotlights:

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We break down the percentage of ads mentioning six key issues tracked by the WMP. For example, over 16,000 ads aired in federal races in Arizona last month. A majority (53 percent) of those ads mentioned the issue of healthcare, and just over one in every five (21 percent) of them mentioned immigration. Note: this is not a comprehensive list of issues tracked or issues mentioned, and other topics may be discussed more frequently than those in the table. Compared to our prior release aggregating airings from January 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018, references to healthcare have gone up (from 32 percent overall to 37 percent) as a proportion of all airings in August as have references to immigration (from 13 percent overall to 15 percent) while discussion of jobs and taxes have decreased slightly (from 18 percent to 12 percent on jobs and 24 percent to 21 percent on taxes).

The “healthcare” column includes the references to “ACA/health reform” efforts in addition to more general reference to healthcare. The “taxes” column includes the references to “tax reform” in addition to more general references to taxation.

Percentages across the four main issue columns (healthcare, jobs, taxes, and immigration) may total more than 100 percent because ads often feature more than one issue.

The WMP plans to release updates to this analysis throughout the fall campaign season.

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Table 1: Airings by State in Federal Races

StateAd AiringsHealthcare*
%
ACA / Health Reform**
%
Jobs %Taxes*
%
Tax Reform
%
Immigration
%
* The "healthcare" column includes references to "ACA/health reform" and the "taxes" column includes references to "tax reform."
** Includes explicit references to the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare and/or references to how health care should be or has been reformed (including references to Republican legislative efforts).
† Total includes several hundred ads promoting candidates from other parties.
Figures are from August 1, 2018 - August 31, 2018. Numbers include broadcast television. States with zero federal airings during this period: AL, DE, ID, MS, SC, SD, WY.
CITE SOURCE OF DATA AS: Kantar Media/CMAG with analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project.
Total†251,0143771221615
Total Pro-Dem133,1135213131535%
Total Pro-GOP117,54921110281026
AK6547800000
AR6537905058501
AZ16,1885320735421
CA4,5936011192019
CO5655600000
CT88591865000
FL25,61250363629
GA55310000000
HI995580027018
IA2,1394303025250
IL1,31362022000
IN16,459190303043
KS6,639340030022
KY3,523880272728
LA610000000
MA4,890230841918
MD35200100000
ME3,28794004100
MI6,162171023035
MN1,503720137716
MO23,87034342971
MT17,6144200121133
NC1,6773561744440
ND12,48116000031
NE704860031310
NH1,34064000029
NJ3,68025036303
NM1,0680093000
NV13,7086515101033
NY13,60721510471424
OH7,52842092523
OK97850033214
OR1470000046
PA3,9735375231220
RI61000000
TN14,9701103941132
TX3,99844001989
UT762000000
VA4,28944065330
VT13000000
WA4,004482034148
WI10,27915123609
WV13,292431010996
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About This Report

Data reported here from Kantar/CMAG do not cover local cable buys, only broadcast television, national network and national cable buys. All cost estimates are precisely that: estimates.

The Wesleyan Media Project (WMP) provides real-time tracking and analysis of political advertising in an effort to increase transparency in elections. Housed in Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center – part of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life – the Wesleyan Media Project is the successor to the Wisconsin Advertising Project, which disbanded in 2009. It is directed by Erika Franklin Fowler, associate professor of government at Wesleyan University, Michael M. Franz, professor of government at Bowdoin College and Travis N. Ridout, professor of political science at Washington State University. WMP staff include Laura Baum (Project Manager), Dolly Haddad (Project Coordinator) and Matthew Motta (Research Associate).

The Wesleyan Media Project is supported by Wesleyan University. Data are provided by Kantar Media/CMAG with analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project. WMP is partnering again this year with the Center for Responsive Politics, to provide added information on outside group disclosure.

Periodic releases of data will be posted on the project’s website and dispersed via Twitter @wesmediaproject. To be added to our email update list, click here.

For more information contact:
Lauren Rubenstein, lrubenstein@wesleyan.edu, (860) 685-3813

About Wesleyan University
Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Conn., is known for the excellence of its academic and co-curricular programs. With more than 2,900 undergraduates and 200 graduate students, Wesleyan is dedicated to providing a liberal arts education characterized by boldness, rigor and practical idealism. For more, visit wesleyan.edu.

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