by Newly Paul
Several scholars have studied the effects of political endorsements on people’s voting choices. However, fewer have studied the factors that determine whether campaigns use endorsements in political ads. Examining the contextual and strategic factors that influence the use of endorsements in political ads could help bridge the gap between the art and science of campaigning and the advertising effects literature. This paper uses data from the Wisconsin Ad Project to study endorsements in ads aired during the 2008 election cycle. We show that endorsements are used strategically by campaigns, and four factors— candidate characteristics, campaign characteristics, ad format, and time when the ad was aired— affect whether an ad containing an endorsement is aired. Specifically, endorsements are more likely to appear in positive ads, are primarily used by incumbents and women candidates, are less likely to appear in competitive races, and tend to air less frequently as the campaign progresses.
I Approve This Candidate: The Strategic Use of Ad Endorsements in the 2008 Election, PS: Political Science and Politics, by Newly Paul / Volume 48 / Issue 04 / October 2015, pp 584-589