Do political ads actually swing voters?

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Eau Claire (WQOW) — The closer we get to the midterm elections, the more political ads seem to be appearing on television, but are they effective in swinging votes?

News 18 spoke with a political expert at UW-Eau Claire, who said ads could have two different effects on voters. Ads could convince someone to vote for a specific candidate, however in most cases, ads will either solidify your vote for a candidate you were already set to vote for, or they could discourage someone from voting entirely.

Political science expert, Geoff Peterson told News 18 overall, ads rarely change voters’ minds.

“Advertising is a lot more about turnout than it is about changing minds, and I think that’s part of the reason you actually see an increase in the number of ads as you get closer to the election is because we want to make sure people remember there’s an election, and get the message they need to vote,” Peterson said.

Peterson also said visits from candidates have become more of an expected “tradition”, but there’s not enough research to support it has any impact on votes.

Samantha Wensel

Samantha Wensel

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