MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Maybe we say this every election season, but the political ads seem to be more frequent, and a little more mean-spirited this time around. They’ve everywhere and they go after everything from a candidate’s policy to even his hair. It sometimes seems the more ridiculous, the better.
So, do attack ads work?
“Some research has shown that it might in maybe four or five percent of the cases,” said University of St. Thomas journalism professor Kevin Sauter.
It’s a small margin of impact for sure, but Sauter says in a close race every point counts.
“That could be the difference in a campaign,” Sauter said.
Even though the ads come one after another, Sauter says in this election Minnesota is way down the list on money being spent.
“We were like 20,000 ads behind where we had been two years ago,” Sauter said.
Some of the ad dollars go to voice actors like Terry Daniel, who records political spots in his Golden Valley home for races all over the country. It’s his job to record the ads, and leave his personal political views out of it. But Daniel admits that at times it can be difficult.
“It’s awfully hard voicing a spot when you’re biting your tongue at the same time,” Daniel said.
Can something so ridiculous or outrageous backfire on a candidate? Sauter says it’s possible, but not very likely when candidates and their followers are so far apart.
“In the end your choices are usually so stark that you’re going to continue to vote for the person that you originally intended,” Sauter said.