Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 62
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Panagopoulos, Costas 2012. Campaign Context and Preference Dynamics in U.S. Presidential Elections. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties, Vol. 22, Issue. 2, p. 123.

    Hall, M. G. 2014. Televised Attacks and the Incumbency Advantage in State Supreme Courts. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Vol. 30, Issue. 1, p. 138.

    Guess, A. M. 2015. Measure for Measure: An Experimental Test of Online Political Media Exposure. Political Analysis, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, p. 59.

    Gordon, Brett R. and Hartmann, Wesley R. 2013. Advertising Effects in Presidential Elections. Marketing Science, Vol. 32, Issue. 1, p. 19.

    LaCour, M. J. and Green, D. P. 2014. When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality. Science, Vol. 346, Issue. 6215, p. 1366.

    Grose, Christian R. 2014. Field Experimental Work on Political Institutions. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 17, Issue. 1, p. 355.

    Mitchell, Dona-Gene 2013. In search of enduring information effects: Evidence from a ten-week panel experiment. Electoral Studies, Vol. 32, Issue. 1, p. 101.

    Green, Donald P. Calfano, Brian R. and Aronow, Peter M. 2014. Field Experimental Designs for the Study of Media Effects. Political Communication, Vol. 31, Issue. 1, p. 168.

    Bali, Valentina A. and Park, Johann 2014. The effects of the electoral calendar on terrorist attacks. Electoral Studies, Vol. 35, p. 346.

    Hassell, Hans J. G. and Monson, J. Quin 2014. Campaign Targets and Messages in Direct Mail Fundraising. Political Behavior, Vol. 36, Issue. 2, p. 359.

    Masket, Seth Sides, John and Vavreck, Lynn 2016. The Ground Game in the 2012 Presidential Election. Political Communication, Vol. 33, Issue. 2, p. 169.

    Fedeli, Silvia Forte, Francesco and Leonida, Leone 2014. The law of survival of the political class: An analysis of the Italian parliament (1946–2013). European Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 35, p. 102.

    Jerit, J. Barabas, J. and Clifford, S. 2013. Comparing Contemporaneous Laboratory and Field Experiments on Media Effects. Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 77, Issue. 1, p. 256.

    Mitchell, Dona-Gene 2012. It's About Time: The Lifespan of Information Effects in a Multiweek Campaign. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 56, Issue. 2, p. 298.

    Henderson, Michael 2014. Issue Publics, Campaigns, and Political Knowledge. Political Behavior, Vol. 36, Issue. 3, p. 631.

    Rogowski, Ronald 2013. Shooting (or Ignoring) the Messenger. Political Studies Review, Vol. 11, Issue. 2, p. 216.

    Kendall, Chad Nannicini, Tommaso and Trebbi, Francesco 2015. How Do Voters Respond to Information? Evidence from a Randomized Campaign. American Economic Review, Vol. 105, Issue. 1, p. 322.

    Strömberg, David 2015. Media and Politics. Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 7, Issue. 1, p. 173.

    Jacobson, Gary C. 2015. How Do Campaigns Matter?. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 18, Issue. 1, p. 31.

    Banda, Kevin K. and Windett, Jason H. 2016. Negative Advertising and the Dynamics of Candidate Support. Political Behavior, Vol. 38, Issue. 3, p. 747.


How Large and Long-lasting Are the Persuasive Effects of Televised Campaign Ads? Results from a Randomized Field Experiment

  • ALAN S. GERBER (a1), JAMES G. GIMPEL (a2), DONALD P. GREEN (a1) and DARON R. SHAW (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 09 March 2011

We report the results of the first large-scale experiment involving paid political advertising. During the opening months of a 2006 gubernatorial campaign, approximately $2 million of television and radio advertising on behalf of the incumbent candidate was deployed experimentally. In each experimental media market, the launch date and volume of television advertising were randomly assigned. In order to gauge movement in public opinion, a tracking poll conducted brief telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 registered voters each day and a brief follow-up one month after the conclusion of the television campaign. Results indicate that televised ads have strong but short-lived effects on voting preferences. The ephemeral nature of these effects is more consistent with psychological models of priming than with models of on-line processing.

Corresponding author
Alan S. Gerber is Professor, Department of Political Science and Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University, 77 Prospect Street, P.O. Box 208209, New Haven, CT 06520 (
James G. Gimpel is Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 (
Donald P. Green is Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University, 77 Prospect Street, P.O. Box 208209, New Haven, CT 06520 (
Daron R. Shaw is Professor, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin, University Station A1800, Austin, TX 78712 (
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Christopher H. Achen 1992. “Breaking the Iron Triangle: Social Psychology, Demographic Variables and Linear Regression in Voting Research.” Political Behavior 14: 195211.

Shirley Almon . 1965. “The Distributed Lag Between Capital Appropriations and Expenditures.” Econometrica 33: 178–96.

Takeshi Amemiya . 1985. Advanced Econometrics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Takeshi Amemiya , and Kimio Morimune . 1974. “Selecting the Optimal Order of Polynomial in the Almon Distributed Lag.” Review of Economics and Statistics 56 (3): 378–86.

Joshua D. Angrist , Guido W. Imbens , and Donald B. Rubin . 1996. “Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 91 (434): 444–55.

Scott Ashworth , and Joshua D. Clinton . 2006. “Does Advertising Exposure Affect Turnout?Quarterly Journal of Political 2: 2741.

Ted Brader . 2005. “Striking a Responsive Chord: How Political Ads Motivate and Persuade Voters by Appealing to Emotions.” American Journal of Political Science 49: 388405.

Raymond R. Burke , and Thomas K. Srull . 1988. “Competitive Interference and Consumer Memory for Advertising.” Journal of Consumer Research 15: 5568.

Joshua D. Clinton , and John S. Lapinski . 2004. “‘Targeted’ Advertising and Voter Turnout: An Experimental Study of the 2000 Presidential Election.” Journal of Politics 66: 6996.

Stefano DellaVigna , and Ethan Kaplan . 2007. “The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 122: 11871234.

Paul Freedman , Michael Franz , and Kenneth Goldstein . 2004. “Campaign Advertising and Democratic Citizenship.” American Journal of Political Science 48: 723–41.

Paul Freedman , and Kenneth Goldstein . 1999. “Measuring Media Exposure and the Effects of Negative Campaign Ads.” American Journal of Political Science 43: 11891208.

Brian J. Gaines , James H. Kuklinski , and Paul J. Quirk . 2007. “The Logic of the Survey Experiment Reexamined.” Political Analysis 15: 120.

Alan Gerber . 2004. “Does Campaign Spending Work?American Behavioral Scientist 47: 541–74.

Alan S. Gerber , and Donald P. Green . 1998. “Rational Learning and Partisan Attitudes.” American Journal of Political Science 42: 794818.

Franklin D., Jr. Gilliam and Shanto Iyengar . 2000. “Prime Suspects: The Influence of Local Television News on the Viewing Public.” American Journal of Political Science 44: 560–74.

Donald P. Green , and Lynn Vavreck . 2008. “Analysis of Cluster-Randomized Experiments: A Comparison of Alternative Estimation Approaches.” Political Analysis 16 (2): 138–52.

Curtis P. Haugtvedt , David W. Schumann , Wendy L. Schneier , and Wendy L. Warren . 1994. “Advertising Repetition and Variation Strategies: Implications for Understanding Attitude Strength.” Journal of Consumer Research. 21: 176–89.

William J. Havlena and Jeffrey Graham . 2004. “Decay Effects in Online Advertising: Quantifying the Impact of Time Since Last Exposure on Branding Effectiveness.” Journal of Advertising Research 44: 327–32.

D. Sunshine Hillygus , and Todd G. Shields . 2008. The Persuadable Voter: Wedge Issues in Presidential Campaigns. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Shanto Iyengar , Mark Peters , and Donald R. Kinder . 1982. “Experimental Demonstration of the Not-So-Minimal Consequences of Television News Programs.” American Political Science Review 76: 848–58.

Lynda Lee Kaid . 1997. “Effects of the Television Spots on Images of Dole and Clinton.” American Behavioral Scientist 40 (8): 1085–94.

Jonathan S. Krasno , and Donald P. Green . 2008. “Do Televised Presidential Ads Increase Voter Turnout? Evidence from a Natural Experiment.” Journal of Politics 70: 245–61.

Costas Panagopoulos , and Donald P. Green . 2008. “Field Experiments Testing the Impact of Radio Advertisements on Electoral Competition.” American Journal of Political Science 52 (1): 156–68.

Demetrios Vakratsas , and Tim Ambler . 1999. “How Advertising Works: What Do We Really Know?Journal of Marketing 63: 2643.

Nicholas A. Valentino , Vincent L. Hutchings , and Dmitri Williams . 2004. “The Impact of Political Advertising on Knowledge, Internet Information Seeking, and Candidate Preference.” Journal of Communication 54: 337–54.

Lynn Vavreck . 2007. “The Exaggerated Effects of Advertising on Turnout: The Dangers of Self-reports.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 2: 325–43.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Gerber supplementary material

 Unknown (86 KB)
86 KB