, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 465-491
Date: 21 Apr 2007

Does Political Advertising Persuade?

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Well over $1 billion was spent on televised political advertising in the U.S. in 2004. Given the ubiquity of the 30 second spot, one might presume that ads must affect viewers’ vote choices. Somewhat surprisingly, though, scholars have yet to make much progress in confirming this claim. In this paper, we leverage a comprehensive dataset that tracks political ads in the nation’s top media markets and a survey of presidential and U.S. Senate voters in 2004. We ask whether exposure to presidential and Senate advertising influences voters’ evaluations of candidates and the choices that they make at the ballot box. In the end, we find considerable evidence that advertising persuades—and that its impact varies depending on the characteristics of the viewer.