Fewer presidential campaign commercials in Iowa than in 2007 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fewer presidential campaign commercials in Iowa than in 2007

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

10 weeks until the Iowa caucuses and hardly any campaign ads from the presidential candidates.

It's a far cry from the months leading up to the 2008 caucuses when it seemed campaign ads dominated the airwaves. That will change possibly as soon as Tuesday with commercials featuring Texas Governor Rick Perry and radio ads featuring GOP candidate Herman Cain.

We've seen the candidates criss-cross Iowa, wooing potential caucus goers. What we haven't seen much of so far are paid commercials on TV and radio across the state.

"Most of these candidates have very limited resources. For them, they have to figure out how they want to do this. They can't control who watches TV and when, so they have to be very strategic about how they target their advertising," said UNI Associate Professor of Political Science Chris Larimer.

An informal survey shows broadcast television spending in the market is 80% less through September than it was through that time 4 years ago. On radio, some stations have seen half the amount of advertising by presidential candidates. Others haven't seen the first ad yet.

Larimer says the nature of the campaign has precluded advertising.

"Part of it is they're getting a lot of free advertising with the debates because we've had so many debates. That's one way for the candidates to get their names out there," said Larimer.

But maybe more importantly, in a long, roller coaster campaign, the message is the issue.

"Within Iowa, it's well known you have a very socially conservative bloc of voters who are very active come caucus-time and there are more independent Republicans in the state so if you're a candidate, you have to figure out which group of voters you want to target," said Larimer.

Larimer also says another reason for fewer ads is that so far, the candidates have held off on going negative, a popular tactic in campaign commercials.

Of course, Barack Obama doesn't have to worry about campaigning in the caucus this year.

It's expected in 2012 his campaign will focus on Iowa - and will advertise here - because it will be considered a swing state.

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