Political Ads Lead Voters to Internet: CAB Study

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A survey conducted last month by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB) found that while 80% of voters said they first learned about political candidates on television, most used the ads only as a starting point for launching their own candidate assessment online.

The findings from the “Political Pulse” study were culled from 278 respondents from a randomly selected national Internet panel, CAB officials said. All survey respondents were registered voters with one of the three major party affiliations.

In addition to gaining a better understanding of how voters make their decisions, the survey explored what effect political advertising has had on voters’ decisions and which media they rely upon for political information before casting their vote.

Some of the survey’s media highlights:

-- Voters claimed television (80%), internet (42%), newspapers (37%) and word-of-mouth (31%) ranked as the most likely sources they’d first learn about a political candidate.

-- 51% of voters agreed with the statement that political ads on television prompted them to go online for more information about a specific candidate.

--When asked a series of questions on direct mail 61% of respondents claimed they discarded the piece without reading it and another 53% stated they did not pay attention to mailings regarding politics.

-- Just 10% of respondents claimed direct mail was the first place they learned about a candidate.

-- 35% of voters claimed they would make their final decision on a national candidate within two weeks of Election Day on Nov. 4, leaving a large undecided group of voters.

-- When making a final decision on a national candidate television (71%), Internet (38%), newspapers (34%) and word-of-mouth (33%) had the strongest influence.

-- 81% of respondents claimed “they typically noticed political advertising on TV."

-- 82% felt “cable networks were a good source for political information.”

-- 71% claimed “political ads help me understand what a candidate stands for.”

-- 59% felt they “learned more from TV ads than political mailers.”

-- 58% of voters tended to “pay attention to political ads on my favorite networks.”

-- 86% of those women surveyed claimed they first learn about political candidates or issues via television—more than 2:1 over other media.

-- 76% of women said that TV influences their final decision more than any other medium

Founded in 1980, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (www.thecab.tv) is a television

advertising advocacy group dedicated to providing advertisers and their agencies with the most current, complete and actionable media insights at the national, DMA and local levels.

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