Saturday, February 23, 2008

Obama Dominated Television Advertising In Wisconsin

Outspent Clinton by almost Five-to-One, study finds;
and outspent all candidates by over Two-to-One

Half of Clinton’s ads had negative content,
with first significant ad tussle taking place in Badger state

MADISON, WI – Barack Obama spent more than twice as much money on TV advertising in Wisconsin than all other candidates combined and nearly five times as much as Hillary Clinton. Not only did the Obama campaign enjoy a massive advantage in spots aired, but the Obama campaign was up on the air a full week earlier than Clinton. Obama aired his first ad on February 6, one day after Super Tuesday, while the first Clinton ad did not appear until February 12.

In the short Wisconsin primary campaign the four Democrat and Republican candidates for president aired over 8,000 spots in the Badger state spending approximately $2.1 million. Almost three out of four dollars spent on all presidential primary television advertising in Wisconsin was spent was by the Obama campaign with the Illinois Senator spending more than $1.5 million dollars to air almost 6,000 spots. Clinton spent a little over $300,000. Spending by Republicans John McCain and Mike Huckabee was significantly less with McCain spending $180,0000 and Huckabee spending $150,000.

All of the ads aired by Republican candidates McCain and Huckabee were positive, outlining their own positions and priorities. Half of Clinton ads had significant negative content while one quarter of Obama ads attacked or counterattacked Clinton.

These are among the findings of a new report from the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project that analyzed data obtained from the TNS Media Intelligence Campaign Media Analysis Group (TNSMI/CMAG). The report analyses political television advertising in five Wisconsin media markets (Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Wassau, LaCrosse) from February 6 to February 19.

“Advertising can tell us much about the state of a campaign,” says Ken Goldstein, a political science professor and the director of the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project. “The fact that Clinton was outspent so significantly speaks to the financial situation she faces. Furthermore,” he adds, “her late entry and the inconsistency in the messages conveyed through advertising and in her speeches speaks to some confusion among Clinton strategists. Clinton needed to define Obama and for first time we saw significant negative advertising. Half of Clinton’s ads were contrast and they were largely attacks on Obama. That said, most observers believe that for Clinton to have a chance, she needs to disqualify Obama on the experience issue. Going after Obama for not debating or not being liberal enough on health care reform simply did not resonate with Wisconsin voters.”

The study also found:

• In what most political strategists consider a "change" election, Clinton ads never mentioned the word “change.” Obama ads mentioned change 1824 times.

• Hillary Clinton never mentioned experience in her ads, either.

• Except for the BCRA disclaimer taking responsibility for her ad, Clinton did not speak in any of her ads -- all were by voiced over by a narrarator. Meanwhile, virtually, all Obama ads featured the Illinois Senator speaking on his own behalf.

• There was no third party or interest group television advertising during the Wisconsin presidential primary.

• Both Democrats focused most of their advertising on health care. John McCain’s top issue was national defense and Mike Huckabee talked most often about abortion in his ads.

• Obama and McCain advertised disproportionately in Green Bay, while Obama was on the air a bit less often in La Crosse than elsewhere, as was Clinton in Wausau.

TOTAL BY MARKET Airings Money Spent
Green Bay 2005 370,000
La Crosse 1338 250,000
Madison 1580 425,000
Milwaukee 1799 850,000
Wausau 1534 220,000

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