(MIDDLETOWN, CT) October 4, 2018 – The Wesleyan Media Project is releasing its third 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 September 1, 2018, to September 30, 2018.
Read our other Issue Spotlights:
We break down the percentage of ads mentioning six key issues tracked by the WMP. Healthcare continues to dominate as the proportion of ad airings referencing the topic rose from 37 percent in August to 41 percent in September. Discussion of taxes takes second in the list, appearing in 20 percent of all ad airings in federal races, followed by jobs (13 percent) and immigration (9 percent).
Pro-Democratic airings continue to concentrate on healthcare, with one in every two mentioning the subject, and a fifth of those healthcare ads (10 percent of overall airings) explicitly defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and/or attack Republican health reform attempts.
Pro-Republican airings continue to split their time between taxes (32 percent, roughly a third of which tout the 2017 tax bill) and healthcare (28 percent), with immigration (17 percent) and jobs (15 percent) fading a bit to third and fourth in the set.
Note: this is not a comprehensive list of issues tracked or issues mentioned, and other topics may be discussed more frequently than those shown here. 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 WMP plans to release updates to this analysis throughout the fall campaign season.
Table 1: Issues by State in Federal Races
|ACA / |
|Jobs %||Taxes* %||Tax |
|* 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 ads promoting candidates from other parties.
Figures are from September 1, 2018 - September 30, 2018. Numbers include broadcast television. States with zero federal airings during this period: DE, GA, HI, ID, VT, WY.
CITE SOURCE OF DATA AS: Kantar Media/CMAG with analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project.
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.
For more information contact:
Lauren Rubenstein, firstname.lastname@example.org, (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.