1.News media talking about the election? Debates? There was a lot more than just ads at play here.
2.Yes actually, we do have some people who said that in the exit polls, but it is a fair point that motivations are a little hard to measure. Just simply asking is about the most precise we can get outside of a lab environment though, so it's about the best we can get.
3.No, it does not, but generally speaking it was of little to no importance to most people.
4.Ahhhh, now this is something I can work with. It's an interesting analysis, but, well...
Let me reiterate again that caveats abound in such a simple analysis. These caveats pertain first to the challenges of using survey data to isolate the effects of news media. But even if we take the survey results at face value, it’s also important to remember that advertising is not the only element of the “information environment” surrounding voters. As research by the political scientists Kevin Arceneaux and Gregory Huber has noted, media markets that witness a lot of television advertising usually experience other kinds of campaign activity — like voter contact — making it difficult to attribute any shifts in the polls solely to advertising.
At this point, I would say there is suggestive evidence that Mr. Romney’s advantages in advertising helped him win in Florida – but it qualifies as circumstantial. The longer the campaign goes on, and the longer Mr. Romney’s advertising advantage persists, the more data we will accumulate to test these effects.
So to say negative ads were THE reason Romney one is jumping the gun a little, and by extension, his simply having more money than the others. Again, Santorum and Paul kept up consistent results in the lead up, and then won with similar percents as their polls had suggested even though they ignored the state. It might simply be Romney just ignored them and decided to not try and court their bases, but still...
You're making a very serious logical error here Whammy, I think. You're saying that because we can't explain all
of the outcome from advertising, that advertising (and hence, money) don't matter much. I never said that the ads were "THE" reason that Romney won Florida. Evidence suggests that they played a part, and your quote from further in the analysis does not change that, because it's just noting the difficulties in ascribing everything to one thing. To respond to the numbered points:
1. Yes, debates, news, etc., they exist, I do not deny that, and I do not deny that some information goes out through them. Do you think that all
that information comes from them? I'm not saying that everything is decided by money, but some of it. Saying that people could have also gotten that information elsewhere is pointless, since data on that advertising concentration indicates that a good deal of them did not get it elsewhere. It's not enough to say that some information came elsewhere to make money not influential: you need to argue that all of it comes from elsewhere. Otherwise, money matters for those parts. How many uninformed voters out there are there- people that rarely (if ever) watch the news, read newspapers, etc.? Those people are going to see those advertisements though, when they catch the latest in their favorite TV show, when they spend some time on Facebook, when their brain catches a bit of a billboard on their way to work...
2. No. No no no no! You can't trust people to honestly say "Yes, that commercial definitely influenced my decision making process". Most people are influenced by advertising- companies spent $131 billion on it in 2010
. Asking people how effective ads were in determining their choices is not going to get you accurate results, because you'll end up getting something similar (though not the same) as the Bradley effect. In this case, many people won't even realize that advertising has influenced them (people have a stark opposition to feeling like they're being manipulated, so if you make it too obvious you get the opposite intended result).
3. Again, you can't just take people's word at "No, I'm totally not affected by advertising" because that's what people want to think about themselves. Just saying that people said the debates were the most important factor in determining their result does not prevent money (whether spent on ads or elsewhere- for that matter, how much does a good debate coach cost? How much does it cost to pack the crowd with your supporters? Those all depend on money.) from being a major influence. The economy is often argued to be the most important factor in presidential elections: does that mean nothing else matters? Of course not.
4. (Already responded to above)
As for people learning about Gingrich's comments, again: just because they could have heard it on the news, they could have read it on the internet, they could have listened to it on the radio, that does nothing
to prove that some, perhaps many, learned of it from advertising.
Whammy wrote:Romney outspent everyone in Iowa and effectively tied with Santorum though so maybe there is some kind of intervening variable going on? I can't find the numbers on the spending in those three states though so even if Romney was 'ignoring' them doesn't mean he was outspending people =P. And if Santorum is now catching up with Romney, it's most likely due to the momentum from his little hat-trick there and getting his message out; it's his turn in the spotlight to be the "conservative alternative" to Romney. Gingrich had his with South Carolina, but once he was in spotlight a lot of dirt came out, he said and did stupid things ("Paychecks for food stamps" anyone?)...pretty much following the pattern of every other non-Romney person in this campaign so far.
Yes, Romney outspent everyone in Iowa, heavily and got essentially a tie with Santorum. That ignores the candidate traits though, and just assumes that the two of them are otherwise equally good "fits" for the Iowa electorate. The Iowa republican electorate, of course, is well known for being heavily socially conservative. Romeny has had to spend a lot of the campaign season fending off criticisms that he is not a true social conservative. Santorum is revilled throughout the left for being a near perfect embodiment of all the ideals of social conservatism. Romney didn't do much retail campaigning in Iowa, and in fact ignored the state up until about December, when he decided he might have a chance of winning it. Santorum visited every county in Iowa, and was heavily invested (in time and in his campaign's available funds) in retail campaigning. Santorum saw a last minute huge swing of momentum in the polls for him in Iowa- in primaries, momentum tends to be rather significant.
All of the advantages were in Santorum's column for Iowa, with the exception of money. Money was able to force him to a near tie. Think on that for a moment.
Whammy wrote:1. .3% for 100k is not what I'd call a "big" influence.
2. I was not and, for future purpose of this discussion, will try to avoid making a 'should' statement. I'm only trying to look at this from a political science standpoint. And from that standpoint, we know Congressional elections rarely draw the same amount of attention as Presidential elections. And that difference, I could argue, means the effect of money would be even less pronounced in a presidential election. Why? Cause we are watching them. The media picks apart every single last detail they can get their hands on. I mean come on, they were sitting on the edge of their seats for Romney's tax forms for crying out loud! Not a day goes by I don't see a story about PACs playing on the news, talking about how much each PAC spent and blah blah blah. And post-Citizen's United distrust of campaign spending and all that, I'd say people are even more willing to be critical.
Yes, I'd say if Nadar had more funding he could have gotten the votes, because most likely it's cause more people were donating to him and, by extension, his message was more popular and appealing to people. If a PAC just gave him the money? No, I'd doubt it.
And again, I doubt we can simply take that .3% swing in Congressional elections and apply it to a Presidential one, possibly for reasons I stated above (more scrutiny). Also, you're making the assumption the only reason a candidate has more money is cause of "rich" people. The money easily could have come from individual donations, and I'd say that's the more likely since PACs run by a business or company tend to give money to multiple candidates to 'hedge their bets', so to speak. Here's what I'd suggest, and maybe someone knows if there is a study already on this; let's look at some of the closer races and just see if there was a significant difference in the amount of money spent between the candidates.
Also, I'd appreciate not making a judgement on my values; I'm simply interested in discussing the effect of SuperPACs and money on elections, and I simply take the (obviously less popular with people) position that the role of money is, well, overstated. Is it a factor? Yeah, but just having more money doesn't mean you win. It can make it easier to win because you can get your message out easier, and it can serve as a proxy measure of people's support for you if you're getting more donations than the other guy. But if a bunch of rich friends are bankrolling your campaign, and that's all, you're probably not going to win. There are things more important than money.
You're missing what I said again: you can't just argue that it's not a big influence, you have to argue that it's zero
, otherwise you are fine with the idea of people (rich or not- fair enough on the comment about the use of the word rich) buying elections when they're close. If it has a small influence, that's still an influence, and it's still an aberration of the will of the people, which is exactly the opposite of how a republic should function. And again, just because people are being more critical does not mean that the influence is lost. Your method of determining if money matters is completely illogical: looking at the difference in spending in close elections will by itself tell you absolutely nothing
. There are so many other factors you would have to take into account to even begin to be able to deduce anything by it: how strong was each candidate? Who had policies that better aligned with the electorate? Who had a higher name recognition before hand? What was the political for the electorate? How energetic were the voters? How energetic were the voters for each candidate? How did they each get their money? There's probably a dozen other factors that would make a huge difference that I haven't even thought of. That kind of study, that you described, would be absolutely useless for determining anything about money in politics.
As for Nader, you're missing many of the benefits money can bring: name recognition, perceptions of electability, the ability to shift the debate to specific topics they're good at, candidate definition (Romney's ads defined Gingrich completely negatively, for instance), and so on. If you just tossed (i.e. one big check from a non-voter, or whatever) $100 million at Nader early enough in 2000, I guarantee you he would have done significantly better, because of those factors.
As for donors "hedging their bets" I'm going to say, no, that's not realistic- most people are going to be fairly staunchly for one side or the other, they aren't going to donate $500 to Romney and $500 to Obama to play it safe. This article
shows that about 25% of superPAC donations to date (from just five people) are all being made by those people strictly along party lines. When Adelson donates $5 million to an Obama PAC, you can tell me "I told you so", until then I think you're making a completely naive assumption.
Your last paragraph is all but agreeing with everything I said: that money does have an influence on elections. You just said so, then you said it makes it easier to win elections. I'm not arguing that you can put some otherwise unelectable person (such as myself!) in a race and say "Here's $1 billion, go become president". I'm saying you can take two relatively comparable candidates (such as Romney and Gingrich- you might laugh, but at their core, they're about equally weak for the sake of a republic nomination contest) and when you give more money to one, the results on the election are rather easy to see.
Whammy wrote:I can't ignore hyperbole; perception of the role of money is just as important as the actual effect of money. Also, the hyperbole presents a hypothesis to test, which I can't resist at least looking at ^_^.
Now to step back a moment and address my opinions. After reading the actual Citizen's United decision...I kind of had to agree with it. Regardless of the effect of PACs or what not, I believe the decision had a point; freedom of speech can not be restricted simply because it's coming from a group of people and because said group has money. If I, as an individual, spent $100 million dollars running ads and printing flyers and holding rallys on an issue you wouldn't stop me, would you? Well, we don't lose our rights just because we group together (heck, the ability to do that is a right!), so if a bunch of my friends and I want to create an organization to support an issue, why shouldn't we be allowed to spend $100 million on it? And, obviously, an election is an issue that we may have an opinion on. We may not like it, but that's freedom of speech for you.
As for the 2010 elections, no, I wouldn't say that the SuperPACs are the reason for the landslide. It's not like we don't already have a history of such large landslides:
You didn't answer my question: do you feel more confident in our political system now, yes or no? You might think that's completely tangential to the decision, but part of their reasoning in the ruling was that the change would not decrease the public's confidence in our democracy. You also can't say "It's speech, therefor it's untouchable"- there are numerous limitations on free speech for the greater public good. The classic example of "Fire!" in a crowded theater, slander, libel, lying in advertising, language use on broadcast television before a certain time, insider trading, revealing state secrets... We restrict free speech all the time, and for some damn good reasons!
If you're OK with letting anyone spend as much money as they want on an election for the sake of speech, would you be OK with them overturning campaign donation limits? It's $2,500 per person as I recall, and part of the ruling was that money is speech: by limiting donations, they're limiting speech. What about the rules against campaigns coordinating with PACs? That would be done through speech- that's another limitation. Protecting the democratic process should be one of the foremost concerns for a republic, and I do not endorse something that undermines it. I do not agree with the two determinants needed to reach the conclusion (money = speech, and corporations = people), and I do not agree with the conclusion. You can't just say "all speech should be free, period, as per the 1st Amendment, therefor so should campaign spending" and ignore the hundreds of years of limitations on speech for the good of everyone.
As for 2010, you're misrepresenting what I said. I did not say they would have not had a landslide, I'm saying they would have had less
of a landslide. There's a huge difference in those two statements.