Advertising Issue Spotlight (10/1/18 – 10/31/18)

(MIDDLETOWN, CT) November 5, 2018 – The Wesleyan Media Project is releasing its fourth post in a series of regularly updated overviews of issue mentions in federal races by state and an interactive visual display of issue discussion from the four main issues featured in our issue spotlights. In both the figure and the table, we show the number of ads that aired in House and Senate races in each state from October 1, 2018, to October 31, 2018.

See the WMP Lab Reports section below Table 1 for links to four new reports created in collaboration with students in WMP’s lab course at Wesleyan University, which analyze advertising messaging on health care, immigration, taxes, and guns.

Read our other Issue Spotlights:

 

We break down the percentage of ads mentioning six key issues tracked by the WMP. Health care continued to be the most mentioned issue in October, appearing in 47 percent of federal ads (up from 41 percent in September). The issue was mentioned even more in pro-Democratic advertising, appearing in 57 percent of airings compared to 32 percent of Republican airings (both percentages represent an increase over September which featured 50 percent and 28 percent respectively). Republicans were slightly more likely to talk about taxation (which appeared in 35 percent of their ad airings) than health care, which also represents an increase in discussion of taxes over September (when 32 percent of pro-Republican ads mentioned the issue). Immigration was discussed in 18 percent of pro-Republican ad airings compared to 5 percent of pro-Democratic ad airings.

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. The “healthcare” column includes references to “ACA/health reform” efforts in addition to more general reference to healthcare. The “taxes” column includes 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 “Health Care” variable includes references to “ACA/Health reform” and the “Taxes” variable includes references to “Tax Reform.” 
Numbers include all federal ads aired on broadcast television during the time periods indicated at the top of the visualization (August 2018, September 2018, and October 2018).
Data visualization work by Elizaveta Kravchenko ’19.
CITE SOURCE OF DATA AS: Kantar Media/CMAG with analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project.

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Table 1: Issues by State in Federal Races, October 2018

StateAd
Airings
Health
Care* %
ACA /
Health
Reform** %
Jobs %Taxes* %Tax
Reform %
Immigration %
* The "health care" 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 ads promoting candidates from other parties.
Figures are from October 1, 2018 - October 31, 2018. Numbers include broadcast television. States with zero federal airings during this period: DE and WY.
CITE SOURCE OF DATA AS: Kantar Media/CMAG with analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project.
Total†1,000,14847%8%11%23%10%10%
Pro-Dem607,71257%9%9%16%8%5%
Pro-GOP386,86432%5%16%35%12%18%
AK4,42872%0%0%71%55%0%
AL2,58746%10%25%17%10%24%
AR4,74547%16%18%52%32%21%
AZ40,47050%9%1%12%4%23%
CA49,71345%10%10%20%9%13%
CO11,44651%6%13%30%12%3%
CT1,39498%0%10%0%0%1%
DE-
FL85,45252%7%4%24%7%1%
GA5,54365%8%0%38%13%2%
HI95119%19%19%0%0%80%
IA18,09756%16%14%34%12%16%
ID1590%0%0%100%100%0%
IL24,33165%14%9%34%15%0%
IN60,74341%9%39%20%10%17%
KS15,51148%8%1%36%8%11%
KY11,03730%0%24%22%16%27%
LA1,72728%0%0%1%1%0%
MA32398%0%0%2%0%0%
MD3,62345%31%22%0%0%7%
ME19,84779%13%24%42%6%2%
MI31,84456%12%11%17%7%3%
MN35,61544%10%12%27%8%3%
MO45,13034%10%12%14%1%13%
MS9,41924%4%19%3%0%9%
MT51,89450%2%0%13%8%7%
NC24,63146%5%9%29%13%5%
ND17,78910%2%10%15%1%20%
NE7,40542%0%10%18%18%5%
NH1,58539%0%58%19%19%3%
NJ16,38150%10%4%21%10%0%
NM17,05140%7%22%16%5%8%
NV29,95155%10%3%15%6%13%
NY45,54068%14%8%45%23%7%
OH26,21535%2%14%22%15%6%
OK1,45162%0%14%14%14%3%
OR1,958100%0%15%0%0%0%
PA31,38649%8%17%34%24%8%
RI1,67756%22%54%53%53%0%
SC3,6534%0%19%35%10%33%
SD1,5190%0%20%0%0%0%
TN43,34222%1%7%22%9%21%
TX63,85037%9%9%23%12%19%
UT7,18038%7%9%35%0%6%
VA46,60655%7%13%24%14%10%
VT1010%0%0%0%0%0%
WA24,33261%7%10%51%18%0%
WI17,43876%1%12%17%1%5%
WV33,07840%1%12%3%2%3%

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WMP Lab Reports

Students in the Wesleyan Media Project lab course at Wesleyan University have been working hard all semester taking an in-depth look at the content of advertising messages on four separate issues, and we are proud to release their preliminary lab reports analyzing health care, immigration, taxes and guns (PDF links below).

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    About This Report

    Data reported here from Kantar Media/CMAG do not cover local cable buys, only broadcast television, national network and national cable buys.

    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 and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 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.

    About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
    Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

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