Campaign ads: $300 Mil spent, very little voter impact

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As the long campaign cycle comes to an end, so will the onslaught of political ads.

We’ve all seen them.  Whether you like them or not, political campaign ads have aired during your favorite television shows and sporting events.

Political science professor at Wright State University Lee Hannah said there’s a method to the madness.

“They’re full of layers.  If they can be humorous that’s more memorable.  If they can elicit fear that’s more memorable.  So they’re thinking about all these emotions that they can pull out of someone in 30 seconds to a minute,” Hannah said.

To date Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have spent well over $300 million combined on campaign ads throughout the race.  With the bulk of the spending being done in battleground states like Ohio— who saw nearly $30 million in political ads.

“For voters it will either assure them of their choice or convince them to vote against the other candidate,” Hannah said.

Similar to Super Bowl commercials, at their best, they can be funny, insightful, entertaining and at times infuriating works of art that will hopefully push voters to the polls.  Studies show negative ads and those that play on voter fears have the most impact.

“And that’s one reason why we see so many of them.  It’s another reason why though, especially if you’re decided, you just turn away, at some point it becomes really frustrating,” Hannah said.

For some voters the ads have little to no impact on who they chose.

“I really don’t pay attention to the political ads too much but, they’ve never really swayed me as far as [who I vote for] I always just seem them as a huge waste of money,” Ohio early voter Nathan Peters said.

“Some of them were persuasive and some of them were kind of out there, but I believe it influenced some people,” Ohio early voter Jeremy Greene said.

Overall, campaign commercial ad spending this cycle was down from the 2012 presidential race. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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