I REALLY want to know. What moron citizen bases their decision on a 60 second sound bite? Political ads are usually lies, gross distortions, or feel-good bytes utterly devoid of facts. I want to hear from or about someone who was persuaded by political advertisements for any vote that they cast. I would expect that such an ad must have been a doozy.
My theory is that there are a good percentage of the population who are just totally a-political, who never watch the news, read papers, or frequent political blogs, and who have absolutely no clue as to the issues or where each politician stands. Since they don’t pay attention, and have no clue what is going on, any dumb ad, no matter how misleading, influences their vote.
Another lesser theory I have is that ads build a (false) sense of momementum. If you hear your guys ads in much greater number than his foe, you assume he must have big bucks behind him, and you assume that means that “the smart money” backs him, or vice versa. I have no facts to back that up, just intuition.
I’m guessing that political ads must be successful, or the pols would not spend so much on them. Personally, even the ones in favor of my chosen candidate usually turn me off unless they are particular gotchas to counteract some lie or misrepresentation put out by the other guy. I know I have personally felt a sinking feeling when I notice “the other guy’s” ads greatly out-number my chosen candidate’s ads, but that feeling comes from the belief that a bunch of no-nothing dolts will hear those ads and be influenced to vote for the wrong guy.
It saddens me to think that people who don’t even bother to figure out the issues in order to make an informed decision are even allowed to vote. I’d be in favor of some test before-hand. Make it multiple choice if necessary. Uninformed dolts need not apply. Some of my family and friends would fail. So be it.