A Democrat watches Trump and wonders, “How did Hillary lose to this guy?”
A political pro wonders, “How did Hillary lose to this guy after running so many more TV ads than he did?” She ran 200,000 ads to his 76,000.
Was it Twitter? Comey? Putin?
Or was it the ads themselves?
A new study – by the Wesleyan Media Project at Wesleyan University in Connecticut – found two things:
First, “Clinton’s unexpected losses came in states in which she failed to air ads until the last week.”
In Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – three big and surprising wins for Trump – he ran more ads up until the last week. In Wisconsin, Clinton didn’t run any ads until the final week.
Second, “Clinton’s message was devoid of discussions of policy in a way not seen in the previous four presidential contests.”
Most of Clinton’s ads attacked Trump personally, not on policy. Her main message: Trump is unfit to be President. Voters got that. But they didn’t get why Clinton wanted to be President. Or what she wanted to do as President.
The study has a lot more good stuff:
- “The impact of advertising may depend on the larger media environment and knowledge of the candidates.”
- “Message matters. A message that is repeated endlessly does no good unless it resonates with a sufficient number of the right voters.”
- “What happens at the presidential level does not always follow down ballot.”
- “Change may be afoot in how political advertising reaches voters, and the 2016 presidential race may be the harbinger of dramatic change to come in political advertising.”