Jessica: To see why the 2012 presidential election is the most expensive and most negative campaign in history, just turn on the TV.
The question is, do you approve?
We came to Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio to talk to students about the political ads flooding their state.
Are you sick of them?
Jessica: In Ohio, the two candidates have spent about one hundred million dollars on political ads.
Michael: And like, listening to Pandora, every five songs you get a Barack Obama or Romney 30-second video.
Mathew: But there’s no fact-checking going on. They can just say whatever they want in these.
Jessica: The deluge of ads has not flooded every state. In California, the state with the highest number of electoral votes, President Obama and Governor Romney have spent nothing. That is because California almost always votes Democratic.
But in the battleground states where the outcome is still up for grabs, it is estimated the candidates will spend $750 million by the end of the election, targeting the ten percent of undecided voters.
So, in your opinion is it worth it? All this money being spent on these ads?
Heidi: I don’t think so. We’re trillions of dollars in national debt.
Jessica: Many agree. Congress passed a law limiting the amount of money spent on political campaigns. But two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled some of those laws were a violation of free speech.
Do you think that somehow the amount of money spent on these ads should be limited in any way?
Matt: It’s a free country. I think you’re allowed to endorse who you want to endorse. They’re not just doing that just for the fun of it. They realize there’s research behind it, that people are persuaded by those negative ads.
Gina: Some of the money is wasted because half of these ads are negative and they’re just mud-slinging the other person. And I don’t think that’s affective for anybody.
Jessica: And that is the real debate; do the ads work? Studies show that they do not affect individuals who have already made up their minds. But they may sway the undecided.
So we asked our panel to weigh in.
What did you think of that? Was that effective?
Gina: It was taken out of context almost. Like, it was just bits and pieces of newscasts that were, like, kind of thrown together to make it look like it was an attack against Obama.
Matt: I had such hope in my mind. I was like ‘he’s going to talk about, like, what he’s done.’ And then it was, like, ‘nope, he just talks about what Romney hasn’t done.’
Jessica: Ok, so this one did not go negative. It was explaining Mitt Romney’s plan. What did you think of this one?
Students: I actually like it. I thought it was affective.
Jessica: So did that work?
Matt: Much more effective than the last one, in my opinion.
Heidi: I think it makes it more relatable that he gives background saying that he was raised be a single mother and why that law was so important.
Jessica: Overall, our panel said they would vote out the negative ads. But the majority of political ads in Ohio, and across the country, go negative.
So their final verdict? Change the channel.
Jessica Kumari, Channel One News.
- Why did Channel One decide to visit Ohio for this story?
- Why are there no political ads in California?
- What are ‘battleground’ states?
- How much money have the candidates spent on political ads this campaign?
- Why did the Supreme Court rule against the law that limited the amount of money spent on campaigns?
- Why do candidates use negative ads?