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Judi's avatar

Are the Presidential candidates spending their advertising dollars foolishly?

Asked by Judi (39850points) December 21st, 2015 from iPhone

It seems to me that I hear about the millions of dollars candidates are spending on television advertising but I am also hearing how a lot of people (like me) don’t watch TV anymore and get their television programming commercial free on the Internet.
I don’t think I’ve seen any political ads this year except maybe from politicians I follow on Facebook and that’s really just preaching to the choir.
Is television advertising for politics obsolete? How should candidates be reaching out to voters?

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8 Answers

rojo's avatar

I think you are correct. They have not kept up with the technological progress.

I have watched TV but could not tell you of a single political ad I have noticed.

There are a couple of things I recall that may indicate that they are beginning to recognize that television ads are not productive; I have received two flyers sent out by Bill Flores thinly disguised as “updates” on how things are going in Congress but that are in reality blatant campaign ads for him (probably paid by taxpayers) and I have had three telephone calls that I am told are surveys that seem to focus on a particular candidate. Two were for a local Representative, John Raney, who is, evidently, more worried about his Republican challenger than anyone that the Democrats will throw at him and the third was from, of course, Congressman Bill Flores.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Here in Georgia, a republican state, our primary is not until late in the season.

I haven’t seen a single political ad so far. A handful of bumper stickers, but that’s all.

That said, it’s early in the season, in general. I am sure that we’ll get all sorts of advertising come the Spring.

As for ‘are politicians spending money wisely?’ – they never do. Even for campaigns. They’ll spend millions and millions and never have a clue how effective it is.

Seek's avatar

The closest thing to paid political advertising I have seen has been a surprising number of Trump signs and bumper stickers at the rural flea market about 1½ hours from my home.

I don’t watch “TV”, and I don’t have a home phone. I’m a registered Democrat, and have received nothing in the mail.

jaytkay's avatar

An immense number of people don’t know anything but what they see on TV.

Also, an alarming number do not grasp the difference between advertising and news reporting.

So yes, the advertising is worthwhile to the candidates.

Cruiser's avatar

I think all the savvy politicians have recognized that the advertising playing field has changed and that their constituency demographics has sectioned off into groups that gravitate towards separate and distinct sources of news and information. I still say a fairly sized majority still rely on TV network news sources and others have become loyal followers of cable media outlets that are reflective of their political bias. The emerging trends are those that have moved into social media for their daily dose of what is happening such as Twitter, snapchat, Facebook etc. And these social media sources are where the political process devolves into not much more relevant than a side show circus where anything based in truth is hard if not impossible to find. Mis-information rules the day it seems and some candidates are blatantly taking advantage of spreading untruths as the sensational wave and in some cases tsunami is near impossible to undo the harm it can create despite it’s obvious falsehood.

As as spending is concerned, what is really interesting though is the fact that Trump has spent next to nothing on his campaign….$2,000,000 to Hillaries near $60,000,000. So to question political campaign spending as foolishly or wisely is a really good question. Clearly IMO it is all way too much.

Seek's avatar

I just got back from a local big-box store. I was in the queue for checkout and saw the cover of some tabloid-or-other. I don’t remember which one. On the front cover was “Donald and Melania’s Flat – a Home Fit for a President”

I am having a hard time explaining to myself exactly why that pissed me off so much, but it did.

I mean, how the hell does living in King Midas’s Tacky Wonderland qualify someone to be president? Why does this magazine talk like he’s already won? Didn’t some of our best presidents ever come from incredibly humble beginnings, and out absolute worst from Daddy’s money?

Stupid tabloid.

msh's avatar

Good grief! @Judi
You are right! I haven’t seen any either….but then Kasich is the governor here. He’s probably blocked them! Schmuck.
I hate being a swing state, just because the campaigning is fast, furious and really nasty here in O-hio.
Long may they stay away!

ibstubro's avatar

I have answered on phone ‘survey’ and we’ve gotten a flier or two. All paid for by taxpayers.
I’ve seem a lot of Bernie signs in the liberal college town near-by, but almost no others. Several “Hillary for Prison 2016”.

I think older Americans have more of a tendency to vote, and I think older Americans have more of a tendency to watch traditional TV. Somewhere on NPR I heard that TV was still one of the best ways to reach large numbers of viewers. I mean, if TV advertising is a poor value, then why are there so many ads on TV?
Although diminished and diminishing, I think TV is king.

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