Senate ads hope to find their audience as spending increases
Outside advertisers continue to pour money into the race between Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis. Ad experts say that money isn't just hoping to persuade undecided voters. It also helps keep partisans motivated.Posted — Updated
While roughly one in four North Carolina voters are unaffiliated, many have partisan leanings. So, the universe of persuadable voters is relatively small versus how many people will see those commercials. But the ads aren't just there to persuade.
"The Democrats across the country, not just in this state, are concerned about turnout, because Democratic turnout in off-year elections diminishes significantly," Eudy said.
So, many of the ads on the television this summer are aimed at turning out the vote for Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan in her race against Republican Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House.
A surge of advertising this summer by Senate Majority PAC has put the Democratic-leaning group in the front of North Carolina's campaign spending pack since Jan. 1.
Senate Majority PAC isn't alone. Conservative groups such as Women Speak Out, which has been critical of Hagan's stance on abortion, and American Crossroads, which backed Tillis in his primary, have also been on the air.
"Television is still, by far, the easiest way to broadcast a message to a large group of people," said Walt Barron, senior vice president with McKinney, a Durham-based ad firm.
With recent federal court decisions, more types of non-candidate spenders can take advantage of television to get their ads out. Only a few years ago, it would have been somewhat unusual to see political ads at the height of beach season, but late June and July have marked a resurgence of ad spending that dropped somewhat after the primary – and viewers aren't necessarily
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