Study: Obama Bounce Tied to Ad Strategy

Overall convention spending was light

President Obama may have his ad strategy to thank for his post-Democratic National Convention 6 percentage point bounce.

Both parties avoided a heavy ad schedule during the convention weeks. But Obama and the PACs favoring him aired more than twice the number of ads aired by GOP challenger Mitt Romney and the pro-Romney PACs. Now, a new analysis is tying that heavier ad schedule to Obama's bounce in the polls.

According to the Wesleyan Media Project's analysis of Kantar Media Campaign Media Analysis Group data between Aug. 26 and Sept. 8, Obama and his allies aired 40,000 ads. During the same time, Romney and his allies aired 18,000 ads on broadcast and national cable.

That added up to $21.1 million spent by the pro-Obama camp, versus $12.9 million spent by the Romney side.

"This advantage may help to explain why Obama's convention bounce was larger than Romney's," concluded Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project.

Overall, however, ad spending during the conventions was much lighter than it was in the previous weeks, about $17 million each week compared to the $34 million weekly spending leading up to the conventions, per a TVB analysis of CMAG data.

The tone of the race is more negative than the 2008 race on both sides. Attack ads in 2008 made up 24 percent of the pro-Obama ads and nearly 41 percent of the pro-McCain ads. This year, the percent of attack ads has jumped to 46 percent of pro-Obama ads and more than 72 percent of pro-Romney ads that have run between April 26 and Sept. 8.

"We might be witnessing this fall an interesting magic trick: the mysterious disappearance of the positive ad," said Michael Franz, the co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which attributed the increase in attack ads to both the interest groups and the candidate ads.


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