A new online poll shows that not all attack ads are created equal: Anti-Obama ads hold a 17-point “believability” edge over anti-Romney ads. Forty-one percent of the poll’s respondents said negative ads they had seen about the president were “very believable,” compared with the 24 percent who thought anti-Romney attack ads were “very believable.”
Online polling service Civic Science conducted the survey. Thirty-two percent of respondents were registered Democrats — one percentage point more than registered Republicans.
According to data collected by the Campaign Media Analysis Group, 61 percent of the Romney campaign’s ads are negative, compared to 48 percent of Obama’s.
Eighteen percent of respondents in the Civic Science survey had only seen negative ads about Romney during the past week. That more than doubled the number who said they had only seen anti-Obama ads. Forty-seven percent saw ads targeting both candidates.
TV ad buys are traditionally the single most costly expense of a presidential campaign. Last week alone, both campaigns and their supporters spent $12.2 million on political advertising.
So far the Obama campaign has spent $54.2 million on ads, outpacing Romney’s $36.7 million.
But republican-linked super PACs are still responsible for the majority of ad dollars, outspending their democratic counterparts six times over during the current election season.
The American Crossroads super PAC has racked up the biggest bill, spending more than $29 million. On Monday, the group announced a $65 million ad stretching from Labor Day to election day — a relentless campaign to support Romney’s election efforts.
“Television advertising is still the most effective platform for communicating a message as well as the most cost-efficient platform for doing that,” American Crossroads communications director Jonathan Collegio told The Daily Caller.
“Our goal is to frame the issue debate on taxes, jobs and debt and to shift the debate on those issues to the right,” he said, “so that conservative policies can be undertaken later on.”
Collegio said Crossroads is using TV advertising to keep Americans focused on the “dramatic failures” of Obama’s economic policies. People find ads targeting Obama more believable, he suggested, because they are “factually reinforcing what people already know, which is that this is the slowest economic recovery in modern history.”
In contrast, he said, “there is a distinct effort at the Obama headquarters to try to make this election about the personal characteristics of Mitt Romney as opposed to the status of the economic recovery.”
Since the election season began, the two presidential campaigns and their supporters had spent a total of $222.6 million on TV ads, costing an average of nearly $500 for each time an ad runs.