Does The Ineffectiveness of Jeb's Campaign Itself Disqualify Him In The Eyes Of Most Voters?
Jeb's SuperPAC, Right to Rise, made the 30 second ad above. I don't know what it cost them to make it or to run it but I do know one thing: it was a complete waste of money no matter what it cost and didn't persuade a single voter... unless it persuaded them to not vote for Jeb. He-- and his donors-- are being taken for a ride by consultants who are getting rich while Jeb's campaign flounders. And it isn't just poor Jeb... even if he is getting the worst of it. Total political ad spending for the presidential campaigns are through the roof. A week from today Iowans will caucus. The most recent CBS/YouGov poll of Iowa Republicans shows that Herr Trumpf is probably going to win and that Jeb will be an asterisk:
• Herr Trumpf- 39%The polling numbers do not reflect what the campaigns and their SuperPACs have spent on advertising in Iowa, from from it in fact:
• Cruz- 34%
• Rubio- 13%
• Dr. Ben- 5%
• Rand Paul- 3%
• Christie- 2%
• Jeb- 1%
• Fiorina- 1%
• Kasich- 1%
• Santorum- 1%
• Huckabee- 0%
• Jeb- $14 millionSo Jeb spent $14 million for the same 1% share of the vote that Kasich is getting after spending nothing at all? On top of which 67% of Iowa Republicans say they "could never consider" voting for Jeb. The Blue America PAC noticed several years ago that the kind of clusterfuck broadcast advertising was a colossal waste of money. So we stopped doing it. Jeb's advisors and Rubio's consultants (as well as Hillary's and Cruz's) are making a helluva lot of bank by persuading the campaigns that this kind of spending is worthwhile. It would be as easy to make the case that for every dollar Jeb has put into TV and radio, he's lost a voter. The barrage of ads in Iowa and New Hampshire are driving people crazy and all the negativity-- most of the advertising is viciously negative-- is further wrecking the GOP brand and depressing the base.
• Rubio- $11.7 million
• Cruz- $6.3 million
• Herr Trumpf- $3.5 million
• Jindal- $3.3 million
• Huckabee- $2.3 million
• Rand Paul- $1.3 million
• Walker- $1 million
• Perry- $798k
• Christie- $587k
• Fiorina- $570k
• Graham- $119k
• Santorum- $32k
Joseph Tanfani, in Monday's L.A. Times reports that "there is little relationship between money spent on ads and poll numbers for candidates, at least on the Republican side. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio, the top two spenders, have spent about 10 times as much on ads as have the two polling leaders in Iowa, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas-- who until recently bought far fewer ads than their rivals." He attributes that to several factors: a celebrity front-runner getting tons of free media and driving the daily media message for the entire field (Trump has been mentioned about 195,000 times on news shows since he entered the race, more than twice as much as his closest rival), an overly crowded field with two many choices and not enough substantive differences, questionable campaign strategies and the kind of voter burnout that prompted University of New Hampshire professor Andrew Smith to remark that "If you turn on your TV over the last few weeks, it's one ad after another after another. It just becomes wallpaper."
"It's a complete waste of money, and I think people are starting to figure that out," Barry Bennett, a Republican strategist, said of the expensive strategy of outside groups blanketing the airways with advertising at premium rates. Bennett, former campaign manager for Ben Carson, now is advising Trump.The consultants are not creative and are largely incapable of thinking outside of the box and are too tied to the rake-offs that enrich them from paid advertising. (And it isn't just the GOP. The corruption is endemic in operations like the DCCC and EMILY's List as well.) Most of this year's GOP campaigns-- as well as Hillary's-- still regard broadcast as the most effective way to reach the most voters. The number of ads purchased is up by 45% since the 2012 presidential cycle.
Even at its best, television is a blunt tool for reaching the relatively small numbers of people who vote in small-state primaries. "The money spent per actual voter is huge," said Joe Fuld, a Democratic campaign consultant. "It's like trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer."
Some suggest that the problem isn't the medium but the message; the ads aren't working as well because they simply aren't very good. No one has come out with a standout ad that generates its own buzz. And this year, ads that tout a candidate's credentials or attack opponents with grainy footage aren't getting through.
Some of the explanation also lies with which candidates were doing the advertising. Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting Bush, raised more than $100 million before the campaign got underway and paid for a bombardment of ads in an attempt to jump-start his sputtering candidacy. After at least $60 million in spending, Bush remains stuck at about 6% in polls.
"Guys like Jeb Bush are spending more than anybody and he has absolutely nothing to show for it," said Justin Holmes, a politics professor at the University of Northern Iowa.
"If they don't like what you're selling, it won't matter how much you try to sell it."
Trump, Bush's antagonist, meanwhile, didn't advertise at all until recently. But he stormed to the top of the field and has stayed there while dominating news coverage and speaking directly to millions of followers on Facebook and with a Twitter feed full of insults, incendiary statements and promises to restore America's swagger.
...For candidates without Trump's news saturation, an increasingly fractured media landscape also is making it tougher for them to get their messages across.
"You have more media outlets today than you've ever had, and the audience is more and more splintered," said Dominic Caristi, a professor of telecommunications at Ball State University. "It's made anything less effective, whether we're talking about an ad for Jeb Bush or an ad for Crest toothpaste."
A recent Gallup survey found that fewer people than ever said that "watching television" was their favorite way to spend an evening. They might still be looking at some kind of screen, but the days of gathering around the set to watch a network show is on the wane, said Frank Newport, Gallup's editor in chief.
"Now it's dispersed," Newport said. "With so many different kinds of screens and different ways of watching, it's more complex to try to reach them."
Millions of dollars' worth of ad spending blended into the background cacophony, with more than a dozen voices in the Republican field struggling to differentiate themselves and to be heard at a time when many voters simply weren't paying attention.
The ads that are doing better, in a time of deep dissatisfaction with anything that smells of old-school politicking, offer a promise of authenticity and an aspirational, idealistic message, according to Ace Metrix, a company that measures ad effectiveness. Mark Bryant, a vice president at Ace, said the firm had shown each ad released this year to focus groups of 500 voters from different parties and demographic groups.Hillary's campaign, whose ads are as stiff and unengaging as Jeb's, is so freaked out over Bernie's ads that they've been running around whispering to media allies that Bernie's ads are racist-- like this one, which has her team running around like chickens without heads:
...[T]he ads getting the best overall response so far are from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic nomination. He has the four highest-scoring spots and seven of the top 10. "Fairness, equality, an economy that works well for all-- these are themes that are resonating with Democrats and independents," Bryant said. "They love his stuff."