Do all those political ads have you grabbing for the remote?

Sep 6, 2018

Credit Koch Network

  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A mid-state scholar says the seemingly non-stop political ads are just getting started.

Vanderbilt Political Scientist John Geer has been studying political advertising for 30 some years.

“There’ll be a huge number of ads bought by both the candidates and by outside groups. And if the Senate race is as close as people expect it to be you can imagine that there’s going to be non-stop advertising for the few weeks leading up to the election.”

Dr. Geer credits Democratic Senatorial candidate Phil Bredsen with producing the best political ads so far. He also gives top marks to Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee. He says Lee’s primary ads were remarkably effective.

“They were able to, without ever going negative, raise some doubts about the other side’s values, given that they were attacking each other and attacking now nominee Lee.”

Even though he praises Lee for staying positive, Dr. Geer says he believes those negative ads are valuable. He wrote a book a few years back suggesting that attack ads provide voters with critical information candidates are reluctant to share.  

Geer says you can also expect to see Tennessee focused political ads when surfing online. He says candidates like the internet ads because they’re cheap and can very precisely targeted for specific types of voters.

He does note, however, that researchers have not yet determined exactly how effective the online ads really are.