Digital Fingerprints: A New Method for Measuring Political Advertising

27 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 4 Jul 2014

Simon Jackman

Stanford University - Department of Political Science

Michael J. LaCour

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Jeffrey B. Lewis

University of California, Los Angeles

Lynn Vavreck

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: March 29, 2013

Abstract

We leverage individual level media exposure data, providing second-by-second records of viewers television and advertising exposure, to better understand how candidates send political messages to the public and how the public receives those messages. Panelists were provided smartphones equipped with audio recognition software that digitally logged all of their television exposure over the course of the 2006 midterm campaign. These data enable an analysis of not only who watches political advertisements, but also what types of people “turn-off” ads and what types of ads are avoided. Contrary to conventional wisdom, results indicate that politically engaged citizens are the least likely to encounter political advertisements, while those who pay little attention to politics are the most likely to encounter political advertisements. We find little evidence to suggest that viewers are “turning off” (fast forwarding, muting or changing the channel) political ads representing a partisan view conflicting with their own.

Suggested Citation

Jackman, Simon and LaCour, Michael J. and Lewis, Jeffrey B. and Vavreck, Lynn, Digital Fingerprints: A New Method for Measuring Political Advertising (March 29, 2013). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2108108

Simon Jackman

Stanford University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-387-3019 (Phone)

Michael J. LaCour (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.mikelacour.com

Jeffrey B. Lewis

University of California, Los Angeles ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1361
United States

Lynn Vavreck

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science ( email )

405 Hilgard Ave.
Bunche Hall, Room 4289
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472
United States
310-825-4855 (Phone)

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