BLOG: Advertising pulls for undecided votes

By Evelyn Dole

There are only a few days before Election Day on Nov. 8 and American voters are already casting their votes for the next president of the United States. For many, the choice is clear. But for the remaining undecided voters, the choice may depend on the advertising they see on television and social media.

Campaigns, Super PACs and other unaffiliated sources raise millions of dollars each election cycle in order to convince all of the undecided voters why they should vote for this candidate or that candidate. Advertising trends are important to look at because it reveals what the candidate is focusing on.

According to Adam Pearce of The New York Times, “Clinton’s advertising strategy has been consistent over the course of the general election, focusing primarily on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.” As we head into the last week, battleground states are an obvious focus, and Florida is the main prize at stake for both candidates.

According to Bill Allison, Mira Rojanasakul, Brittany Harris and Cedric Sam of Bloomberg Politics, “Hillary Clinton continues to dominate the money race—now having raised more than $1 billion this election—thanks in large part to a cadre of wealthy donors sending tens of millions of dollar into Super PACs.” And as of Oct. 28, Clinton’s campaign had spent $30.3 million on “media buy,” or providing media coverage in advertising.

Super PAC’s have contributed enormously throughout this election, far-outdoing previous records. As the Huffington Post explains, “Super PACs were born from the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision and a lower court ruling that followed it.” Essentially, these groups can raise unlimited contributions as long as they don’t coordinate their spending with the candidates they are trying to support.

On the other side of the ticket sits Donald Trump who has taken an unconventional, yet entirely in character, approach to campaign advertising throughout his race to the White House. According to Bloomberg Politics, “Trump has relied mainly on his own wealth and millions of small donations to fund his campaign.” In fact, Trump has spent only $19.3 million on “media buy” during this election process. But Trump has also spent $2 million on other forms of advertising like merchandise … including the especially popular and easily identifiable red trucker hats that read “Make America Great Again.”

Trump only started spending a lot of money on ads after Labor Day, with most of the spending coming in the final weeks before Election Day. Major Garrett of CBS News reports that, “Donald Trump will spend $100 million on TV ads and $40 million on digital advertising in the final six weeks of the campaign.”

So as we come down to the wire, data reports show that Trump has indeed upped his advertising spending in an attempt to sprint through the finish line and maybe turn the tables on Clinton in the polls. For the first time since the nomination, Trump outspent Clinton during the week of October 18—Trump spent $14.4 million to Clinton’s $13.9, according to John McCormick and Andre Tartar of Bloomberg Politics.

We will see if Trump’s final push to claim this election will work, but for now Clinton seems to be quite comfortably ahead in the polls. But, as always, it’s not over until it’s over.

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