By: Travis Ridout, WSU professor of political science, Erika Franklin Fowler, and Michael Franz
The 2018 midterm elections are in the books, the winners have been declared and the 30-second attack ads are—finally—over.
As co-directors of the Wesleyan Media Project, which has tracked and analyzed campaign advertising since 2010, we spend a lot of time assessing trends in the volume and content of political advertising.
Because we have television data that span a number of elections, we can provide detailed information on how prominent TV ads are overall or in any given location, how many different types of sponsors are active and how the content of advertising compares to prior election cycles.
Of course, television is not the only medium through which campaigns attempt to reach voters. But online advertising, which represents the biggest growth market, has been much harder to track.
What role did political advertising play in the 2018 midterm elections? Here are our top observations.