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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Gubernatorial candidates lead national stats on ad spending

As campaign trails heat up across the nation, candidates vying for a seat in the governor’s office have spent $390 million on television ads, according to an on-going study by the Wisconsin Advertising Project here at the University of Wisconsin.

Even with an influx of dollars spent on advertising, gubernatorial candidates have spent $225 million for television ads.

Since Labor Day alone, more than $50 million has been spent across the nation.

Ken Goldstein, director of the Wisconsin Advertising Project, said due to inflation, more money is spent on TV ads each campaign year. However, the total for this year might hit record levels, Goldstein said.

“This is on track for being a record amount to be spent,” Goldstein said.

The study showed that California Gov. Gray Davis has spent the most so far on television advertising, spending $24 million to date.

Despite increases in television ads, only 61 campaign ads ran Sept. 11 across the nation, according to a study by the Wisconsin Advertising Project released Sept. 13. Goldstein said it is likely that campaigns chose to halt ads because many television stations had wall-to-wall coverage of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks throughout the day.

He also noted that many candidates did not feel it was an appropriate time to run ads.

“It became a norm,” Goldstein said. “It’s perfectly appropriate for not having ads on that day.”

Gov. Scott McCallum announced early in September that he had decided not to run any campaign ads or participate in campaigning on Sept. 11.

“The events of Sept. 11 reminded everyone that there are more important things in life than partisan politics,” McCallum said in a news release. “On the first anniversary of the attack, people should take time to honor the victims and their families, and celebrate the incredible spirit of partnership and pride in our country that helped us all through an emotionally difficult time.”

The UW survey showed a trend in television ads, especially in Wisconsin, involving overall positive statements made by candidates. This means that candidates are focusing on the issues of their own political platforms and not on other candidates.

According to Goldstein, no Democratic candidate for governor running in Wisconsin aired a negative television ad about the other candidates. But Goldstein said that might not necessarily be a good thing.

“A positive ad doesn’t mean it is a good ad,” Goldstein said. “The voters were not very well served.”

The study said that in 2000, 46 percent of the ads aired were positive, 30 percent were negative and 26 percent contrasted the candidates.

In 2002, 70 percent of the television ads were considered positive.

As the general elections get closer, the overall positive comments in TV advertising might drop, Goldstein said.

“You’ve already seen it here in Wisconsin,” Goldstein said.

Jessica Erikson, press secretary for the Jim Doyle for Governor campaign, said the focus of Doyle’s ads are positive.

“Doyle’s focus is on the issues, his record as attorney and his vision for Wisconsin,” Erickson said.

On the other side, Chris Lato, communication director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said the party is currently running TV ads about Doyle’s character as the state’s attorney general.

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