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Why We Should Care About Dark Money Ads

As part of our ongoing focus on interest group advertising and dark money in elections, we are pleased to welcome our first guest post by Conor Dowling (University of Mississippi) and Amber Wichowsky (Marquette University).   Total outside group spending in federal elections with no disclosure of donors saw a 60-fold increase between 2006 ($5.17 million) and 2012 ($310.8 million). This “dark money” can in large part be explained by increased spending by nondisclosing entities—particularly 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) groups that are not required to disclose the identities of their donors as long as their primary purpose is not “political.” In…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 16, 2014
Blog

Welcome to the new WMP blog!

Loyal visitors to our website may know that Mike Franz, Travis Ridout and I haven’t always limited ourselves to real-time updates on advertising though that has been our primary activity for the last four years. As academics, however, we do much more than real-time advertising analysis, and like other blogs before us, we believe that we share a responsibility to help make political science research more accessible and available to journalists and the public. As such, this new blog portion of our website will be devoted to highlighting not just our own research on advertising and media but also those of…
Erika Franklin Fowler
October 8, 2014
2012 ElectionsBlogReleasesYear-End Summaries

2012 Election Studies Published

2012 Campaign Advertising Volume Crushed Previous Records; Interest Group and Dark Money Analyses in the Works (MIDDLETOWN, CT) Feb. 14, 2013 – Two comprehensive studies of the campaign ad trends from the 2012 election have been published by the researchers from the Wesleyan Media Project. “Negative, Angry, and Ubiquitous: Political Advertising in 2012” by Erika Franklin Fowler of Wesleyan University and Travis N. Ridout of Washington State University, and “Interest Groups in Electoral Politics: 2012 in Context” by Michael Franz of Bowdoin College, appear in the most recent issue of The Forum, a Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics.…
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February 14, 2013
Blog

Media Focus on Campaign Ad Strategy Amplifies Feeling of Negativity

Positive advertising matters as much if not more than negativity (MIDDLETOWN, CT) Mar 14, 2012 -- In the midst of perhaps the most negative presidential primary race in recent history, a new Wesleyan Media Project affiliated study (click here for an older local copy) published by Political Research Quarterly suggests that the tone of ads on the airwaves is not the only thing contributing to citizen perceptions of negativity. (more…)
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March 14, 2012