Pols fire ad barrage at swing states

Torrent of ads swamps undecided states

WASHINGTON — Fewer people are seeing political ads this presidential election cycle, but targeted voters in 10 swing states are getting barraged, according to the latest report by the Wisconsin Advertising Project.

Project researchers who analyzed Nielsen Monitor-plus data for two weeks (between Sept. 24 and Oct. 7) noted that residents of Ohio and Florida have been hardest hit by the blizzard of late ads as the Nov. 2 election approaches. Of the 10 markets that have seen the most political TV spots in those two weeks, five are in these two battleground states.

Project also found that markets in only 10 states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — comprise 44 of the overall top 50 ad markets this election season.

Furthermore, in the last two weeks, the top 50 markets saw 87% of the presidential ads even though they contain just 27% of the U.S. electorate. In large part, the only ads other Americans are seeing are running nationally on select cable nets.

Ad buys tell story

“The end game of this advertising battle is now purely about reaching the 270 electoral college votes needed and focusing resources on the handful of states where the result remains in any doubt,” said professor Ken Goldstein, director of the project.

Goldstein suggested it will be interesting to see where the Bush and Kerry campaigns make their ad buys after the last debate today.

“More than snap polls and punditry, those decisions will tell us who won the debates and what effect they had on each candidate’s chances of victory,” he said.

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