Political ad campaigns in high gear - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Political ad campaigns in high gear

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL)-- We're creeping closer to the fall elections and that means you're now seeing a lot more political ads. 

Even though the economy is still in a slump, politicians are still doling out lots of cash on advertising.  Based on the latest numbers, candidates running for U.S. House and Senate seats in this election cycle have raised more than $1.2 billion.  That's well ahead of the pace for elections in 2004, 2006, and 2008.

The sounds of the campaign season are becoming a lot more frequent these days.

"Labor Day is the unofficial start to the campaign season.  So, we know this is when we start to see voters tune into elections and campaigns, and candidates know this as well.  So this is when they start to funnel a lot more money toward campaign efforts that they do on television because that's generally the most effective means of communicating with voters," University of Northern Iowa political science professor Donna Hoffman said.

Just take our station, KWWL, for example, and the numbers are staggering.  Last week, only Terry Branstad and Bruce Braley were running ads.  As of Tuesday, Loebsack, Culver, and Grassley also started advertising.  Together, they're running more than 5.5 times more commercials than they did just a week ago.  And those candidates are spending 3.5 times more money on those ad spots.  But experts warn not to put all your trust in these ads.

"We should not, as citizens, ever get all of our information from a candidate's campaign or the outside groups.  We should rely on a lot of different sources in order to make informed decisions about who we're going to pick to be our representatives," Hoffman said.

In addition to hearing out all the candidates, it's important to check the facts in the ads for accuracy.  Several online resources can help you do that.  They're just another tool to help you cut through the clutter and make the best decision come election day.

We talked with both Iowa governor candidate camps Tuesday.  While neither campaign divulged exactly how much they'll be spending on ads in the coming weeks, the Culver campaign says it will be running an aggressive ad campaign.  Branstad's camp says it started running ads before the primaries this spring, and it will continue to run a consistent stream of ads.

There is also a higher frequency of ads from outside groups.  In recent weeks, three different political issue campaigns have been featured on KWWL.  Experts believe the volume of those ads will only continue to increase.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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