If there was any doubt that PACs and other outside groups wield big influence in this presidential election, check out Ace Metrix's top 10 most effective presidential ads among independent voters. Only three ads, from the Obama for America campaign made the researcher's list of top 10 most effective ads; the other seven were from PACs.
The six ads favoring Mitt Romney are all from outside groups; not a single ad from the Romney for President campaign, which really couldn't ramp up until after the GOP convention, made the list.
The six ads favoring the GOP challenger, such as the ads from Public Notice, are not over the top, but are subtle attacks expressing disappointment in the current Administration, the economy, and concerns about Obamacare.
"The ads did not take an extreme approach and therefore didn't turn off independents," said Jonathan Symonds, Ace Metrix's evp of marketing.
Yet the top-rated ad among independents, Priorities USA's Stage ad, blaming Mitt Romney and Bain Capital for the closing of a plant in Marion, Indiana, was one of the most vitriolic of the election.
President Obama's edge in the polls may be receding, but his campaign ads scores high marks with independents. At the end of September the Obama for America campaign released what ranked as its most effective ad of the campaign with independents. Known as the Table ad, it features President Obama speaking directly to the camera as if he was sitting down with the viewer "around the kitchen table."
"The President has been able to draw on his likability when he stares into the camera," said Symonds. "He's advertised a lot more than Romney and he's had more chances to get into the top 10."
While Obama stresses his likability, Romney has taken more of a message approach. The leading Romney campaign ad released in early October, is Who's raising taxes?
So which ads bombed with independents? Among the bottom 10 were ads from both campaigns. Obama for America's biggest bomb was not the Big Bird ad but an ad featuring Marc Anthony telling Latinos that "the president has our back." The Romney for President campaign failed to score with an ad that concluded "it's just not getting better."