However these ads have remarkably little impact, especially when candidates like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton already are known quantities to most people. Political scientist Lynn Vavreck lays out what researchers have learned:
But she then goes on to argue that candidates can't skip the air wars because ... well because the minuscule effects that have been documented might add up by November. Well maybe ...
But is TV genuinely essential in big races? Vavreck points out that Trump actually was the subject of a lot of positive TV ads during the primary. But right now, he seems to be broke. Maybe he'll create the experiment that proves the TV is just waste in a presidential cycle with well known candidates.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is blanketing the battleground states in the conventional manner.
That's a real world test of the conventional wisdom if I ever saw one. Trump must be defeated. But if his campaign revealed that a candidate can bring out his base without the airwaves, citizens spared endless repetitions of nonsense would be grateful. Not that I can imagine that consultants would ever admit this.
Ads about candidates and on subjects about which voters know little may be both informative and effective; but much candidate spending is consultant-theft from gullible clients.