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About the article
Erika Franklin Fowler
Erika Franklin Fowler is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and Co-Director of the Wesleyan Media Project. She specializes in political communication – local media and campaign advertising in particular – and her work on local news coverage of politics and policy has been published in political science, communication, law/policy, and medical journals.
Travis N. Ridout
Travis N. Ridout is Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy and Associate Professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at Washington State University. He is also co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. He is author of The Persuasive Power of Campaign Advertising (Temple University Press, 2011).
Published Online: 2013-02-09
The analyses presented here are based on ongoing coding, which is 97% complete for presidential airings between April 11 and Election Day, 2012, and 88% complete for congressional (House and Senate) airings between June 1 and Election Day, 2012.
Only about 68,000 of those spots aired on national television at a cost of $350 million.
A difference in cost per ad could also result if the campaigns systematically chose to air their ads at different times of day, during different programs that drew larger or smaller audiences, or due to paying premiums for non-pre-emptible time. While the campaigns did target different audiences, there no evidence that, say, Obama was buying a ton of cheap ads at 2 a.m. while Romney was buying expensive prime-time ads.
Note that no data are available for 2006.