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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
2014 ElectionsReleases

Ad spending in 2014 elections poised to break $1 billion

Democrats Hold Slight Lead in Senate Advertising; Interest Groups Account for 40 Percent Senate Airings This Cycle, All-time High   (MIDDLETOWN, CT) October 14, 2014 – Just three weeks out from Election Day 2014, Democrats hold a very slight advantage in the most competitive Senate races. In 10 of the 15 Senate races with the highest volume of advertising, more ads favoring Democrats than ads favoring Republicans aired between September 26 and October 9 (Table 1). Table 1: Ad Volume and Spending in Top Senate Races Republicans continue to be more reliant on outside group advertising than Democrats. In 13…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 14, 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
2014 ElectionsReleases

GOP Groups Keeping Senate Contests Close

Republicans Have Ad Advantage in Iowa, Kentucky Senate Races; Dems Ahead in Michigan, Louisiana   (MIDDLETOWN, CT) September 30, 2014 – Two weeks ago, the Wesleyan Media Project reported that Democrats had dominated advertising in the most competitive Senate races in the first part of September. But over the past two weeks, Republicans have built ad advantages in Iowa, Kentucky, Colorado and Alaska thanks to spending by outside groups. In all four of those states, over 40 percent of pro-Republican ad airings were sponsored by groups between September 12 and September 25. Table 1 shows ad volumes and spending in…
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September 30, 2014