An Informative Article On the Effectiveness of Campaign Advertising

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

This article on Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight blog at the New York Times site makes some good suggestions regarding campaign advertising.  It’s not written by Nate Silver, but it is full of keen insight that applies not just at the national level, but for local campaigns in San Bernardino County as well.  In part one, the author argues that campaign ads matter more for challengers than incumbents (or for candidates that are more unfamiliar and that advertising matters more when one candidate can outspend another, giving the example of George W. Bush putting two to one more ads than Al Gore two weeks before the 2000 election cost Al Gore 4 percentage points.  Because 2000 was such a tight election, that made a big difference.  The article argues that campaign ads can matter, but not for long.  I think the takeaway is that the impact ads need to come near the time when early voting starts, and near the election.  An attack ad, unless it is sustained assault with wave after wave, should not be attempted in September for an early November election.

If you are interested in the use of statistics in politics, you should bookmark the site.  When it was still at, Nate Silver posted a lot more frequently, but even as a hot-shot New York Times blogger, the site gets updated multiple times a week.  Also, the comment section is relatively erudite for anonymous internet commenting.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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