Ads and voter targeting

Ad use between Senator McCain and Representative Kirkpatrick has been very beneficial because clear stances on substantive issues have been given and obvious targeting of one specific voter group is shown. There are five major methods to broadcast ads to a wide variety of audiences, and these five methods consist of broadcast TV, cable, radio advertising, online advertising, and newspaper advertising. (Crowder-Meyer, November 2, 2016). Broadcast TV and radio ads seem to be the most prevalent in the race between Senator McCain and Representative Kirkpatrick. After visiting multiple sites, it seems Representative Kirkpatrick has not taken advantage of radio advertising however, the incumbent Senator McCain has. This could prove as an advantageous move Senator McCain because radio ads are heard by about 80 percent of the public. (Overby & Barth. 2006. “Radio Advertising in American Political Campaigns: The Persistence, Importance, and Effects of Narrowcasting” American Politics Research.).

Senator McCain has aired twice as many TV ads as his competitor, Representative Kirkpatrick. Here, a compiled list of ads aired by both candidates is shown. After categorizing the TV ads, McCain has produced two attack ads, seven issue based ads, and one particularly important ad title “Por Arizona”. Senator McCain’s issue based ads focus largely on national and state security for Arizona, the effects of Obamacare, and Economic security also on the national and state level. A couple of the ads were sponsored by others such as “Fighter” which was sponsored by the U.S chamber of Commerce or the ad showing Border Patrol endorsing Senator McCain. Aside from Senator McCain’s two attack ads, which attacked Representative Kirkpatrick’s stance on Obamacare, the issue based ads seemed to stern but optimistic for the future. Senator McCain just released a radio attack ad focusing on Representative Kirkpatrick’s stance on Obamacare as well. There is significant mentioning of leadership in association to the issues Senator McCain brings up in these ads, and ads titled “Protect” or “Fighter” depict Senator McCain as a candidate that will fight for the well-being of Arizona. Patriotism and McCain’s military association was shown by background images in almost every ad as well.

Representative Kirkpatrick is lacking in TV and radio ads aired. This might have stemmed from falling behind in funding to Senator McCain as well. Representative has only aired 5 ads, all of which were TV ads. These can be viewed here. Two of the three attack ads strategically played on the negative relationship between Trump and Senator McCain. Representative Kirkpatrick’s issue based ads leave her looking more moderate than strictly democratic. In these ads, she proposed term limits in Congress and moderate stances on medicare and privatizing social security. “Campaigns by challengers are the most likely to target voters who identify with the opposing party.” (Herrnson, pg. 213).This could be an attempt to target moderate republican voters to help swing the election.

Interestingly, both candidates aired an ad completely in Spanish. Senator McCain aired an ad titled “Por Arizona” and Representative Kirkpatrick aired more of an attack ad in Spanish titled “Pensabamos que Sabiamos”. Both candidates are clearly targeting the Hispanic voter constituency. Depending on which poll is used, the race for Arizona’s senate seat is close or no competition. If there is a high turnout among latino voters, the effect could very well swing the election in favor of either candidate.


2 thoughts on “Ads and voter targeting”

  1. I think your point about funding is interesting – I have seen significant differences in pretty much every aspect of my campaign that can be traced (at least in part) back to how much money a candidate is able to spend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Most definitely. McCain is heavily out-funding Kirkpatrick in my own race, but some polls have Kirkpatrick closing the gap. It will be very hard for kirkpatrick to overcome McCain’s superior funding and name recognition in this election, but if it will be interesting to see the end result. Thanks for thought.


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