Pew: About Half of Voters Pay Attention to Candidate Ads

Despite the blitz of campaign ads in the run-up to the midterm election next week, voters polled by the Pew Research Center report seeing fewer campaign commercials than at this point in the previous midterm election, and only about half of the registered voters say they paid attention to them.

According to the new poll, 80% have seen or heard candidate campaign ads, and 44% said they had seen a lot of ads. That is down from 88% and 56% in 2010.

In terms of the potential waste circulation for campaign spots, of those registered voters who said they had seen or heard the ads, 53% said don't pay attention to them, while 46% said they do. The political breakdown of that inattention was 59% for independents, 51% for Democrats and 48% for Republicans.

The survey is based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 15-20 among 2,003 adults 18 and older (1,494 of them registered voters). The margin of error for the entire sample is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points and 2.9 percentage points for registered voters.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.