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Voice and Inequality in Political Campaigns

This summary, by Kathleen Searles, is based on new research just published in the journal Political Communication   Is Don Draper Making Political Ads? -- AMC’s popular period drama, “Mad Men,” is set in a fictional 1960s advertising agency where ad executives attempt to sell happiness to America’s beleaguered housewives. While a lot has changed since Don Draper’s days on Madison Avenue, one aspect hasn’t: men’s voices are still the overwhelming choice when it comes to voiceover narration in political advertising. Male voice-overs outnumbered female voice-overs two to one in the 2010 and 2012 congressional campaigns. Sixty three percent of…
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Reducing the effectiveness of group-sponsored advertising through disclosure

This post from Travis N. Ridout was first published at The Blue Review, a journal of popular scholarship in the public interest at Boise State University. Click here for the original post.   It used to be that candidates paid for most of the political ads that aired on their behalf. If they were involved in a highly competitive race, their political party might have jumped into the “air war” to pay for some ads backing the candidate. Occasionally, an interest group even waded into the political ads game. But in the past decade, that traditional balance of advertising sponsorship…
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What Matters With Negativity is Timing

There is a lot of talk about negativity in elections, and as measured by Wesleyan Media Project (and Wisconsin Advertising Project) coding, there is much more of it on the airwaves than there was a decade ago.  Yanna Krupnikov (Stony Brook University) writes for us on the effects of negativity and why timing is everything.   On September 30, 2014, Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate running for Governor of New York, aired an ad designed to warn voters about his opponent’s questionable ethics.  Astorino’s ad was a “remake” of Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 “Daisy Girl Ad,” and used identical imagery to…
Wesleyan Media Project
October 22, 2014
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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