, Derry, New Hampshire

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June 14, 2012

Presidential campaign ads are everywhere, but do they work?


Yet there's little evidence that a memorable TV ad or series of ads can on their own change the dynamic of a presidential race. One of the most famous — Lyndon Johnson's "Daisy" commercial in 1964, in which Johnson implied that his Republican opponent, Sen. Barry Goldwater, would put the world at risk of nuclear war — didn't change Johnson's standing in the polls from the time the ad aired in early September until Election Day. Similarly, the four "Swift Boat" ads that attacked Kerry's war record and integrity in August 2004 had little prolonged impact. Kerry's poll numbers rose and fell before the ads began — and rose and fell right up until the election.

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