Americans Deserve Better Media Buy Result: Double Johnson Poll Results

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A report provided to IPR by former LNC Chair and current Americans Deserve Better (#votefortheadults) SuperPAC spokesperson Geoff Neale, reports an approximate doubling of the Gary Johnson poll numbers as a result of their media campaign in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.  The Patterson & Company polling operation document appears to show a significant impact as a result of the campaign (as there is no possible “control group” market, and other outside influences are also likely to have impacted the results over time, a purely causal relationship cannot be perfectly discerned).  The analysis provided by Patterson & Company concludes:

“After two weeks of advertising on broadcast television, cable television, radio and online, we about doubled the Johnson/Weld vote share from a starting point of 5.5% on August 3 to 10.6% on August 29.  All of the other tickets on the ballot showed negative movement during the same period and the number of undecided voters fell as well. Also, while Johnson/Weld supporters are more heavily comprised of registered Republicans in this district (approximately 50%), they have a substantial number of Democrat and Independent supporters as well. In fact, Hillary Clinton’s decline in support throughout our ad buy outpaced that of Trump.

“Further analysis revealed that the Johnson/Weld ticket received the lion’s share of voters who changed their vote preference over the period of our test marketing. This is a fairly remarkable finding given the fact that neither Johnson nor Weld appeared in the district until the final day of our ad campaign, and as such received very little earned media coverage compared to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton over the same period. [NOTE: While coordination between the Johnson/Weld Campaign and independent Super PAC’s is forbidden, moving forward it is important that the campaign recognize where outside groups are spending on behalf of the ticket and prioritize the candidates’ schedules accordingly. This approach has a dual benefit; personal appearances increase the effectiveness of paid advertising, and paid advertising increases earned media opportunities for candidates on the ground.]”



Prior IPR coverage, including links to the video and radio ads used by the SuperPac is available HERE.

IPR readers wishing to support the Americans Deserve Better SuperPAC may do so by directing their donations to the Americans Deserve Better PAC, PO Box 49942, Austin, TX 78765.  (Please note the federal law requirement that the PAC ask for your occupation and your employer.) Or go to or to the direct donation page HERE.

The Patterson & Company Polling Summary document can be read  HERE.  (Note: Although marked CONFIDENTIAL by Patterson & Company, IPR has received permission to include it here as a public document at the request of the Americans Deserve Better PAC.)

3 thoughts on “Americans Deserve Better Media Buy Result: Double Johnson Poll Results

  1. robert capozzi

    br, what do you think of this mix? Should it be 100% broadcast instead? Would GJ be at 15% if they had done so?

  2. Be Rational

    Spending over $92,000 in a single district over a two week period is impressive. This represents what could happen with roughly $40 million nationwide spread over 435 CDs.

    When you have a significant enough budget, then moving beyond broadcast TV to the other forms of media fills in nitches and reinforces the message as people have the chance to hear or see the message delivered from several sources and at different times. A bit more information might show that the cable TV is actually money on network affiliates carried by cable. If so, television at 75% is a reasonable portion with this kind of budget in a small area over 2 weeks. So, such an allocation is a good idea. However, we have to keep repeating and targeting this district through the election to maximize results.

    The Johnson campaign wasted $2 million of their money on radio when they should have spent the money on broadcast TV first. They also spread themselves too thin, with ads in 21 states. They didn’t have enough cash for 21 states. When you’re spread to thin you don’t saturate the target. You need mulitple repeat hits for individuals to change their positions or take action.

    My recommendation was $250,000 for Maine for the late August period (elsewhere on IPR) over the two ME CDs. So, the Americans Deserve Better PAC did something similar with good results.

    At this stage you need to roughly 20 cents per capita over a short time period to have an impact in a target area. Spending too little on a large area is like throwing sand in the ocean by the handful – you won’t see any results. If the Johnson campaign had $5 million to spend, they should have been targeting a much smaler number of states – roughly 50 CDs.

    It is also more effective to target by region – this is, when you have contiguous target states you get reinforcement of the message and since media markets overlap state borders, and individual CDs don’t follow media market lines, it can be more efficient with states and regions.

    On another thread I pointed out that you can’t actually reach the whole of the Maine 1st CD without buying three media markets and the PAC indicated they were only buying one of the three. This means that if the polling was done throughout the 1st CD, many of the individuals polled would have been outside the targeted media area, so the positive effect of the advertising would be diluted in the poll.

    The good news is that the PAC proved that advertising works: It was mostly TV and polling results doubled and since a large portion of the district was polled but missed the ads, the effectiveness of the ads was greater than the poll shows.

    The Johnson campaign and other Johnson PACs need to heed this lesson, target key states, spend at least 20 cents per capita in a target states before adding more, avoid expensive TV markets like DC, LA, Chicago, NYC and others in non-target states and put the bulk of the money on major network broadcast TV (which includes networks carried on cable to households that watch the major networks on cable).

    Targeting key states also requires ad buys in contiuous overlapping markets at less than the 20 cents rule of thumb to achieve the best resluts in the target states. ME, NH, VT are all good targets overlapping each other. MA becomes a target as a necessity – you need Boston ads to target southern NH for example. It also works because MA would be a good target anyway, even if unaffordable for total saturation. RI is also a good target contiguous to MA and fits in the region. A lot of CT is missed by skipping NYC, but the rest can be a target with MA and RI to make the region work. The ads in contiguous states overlap and lend media support. It makes the effort appear to be nationwide to viewers within the region.

    LIkewise, NM, UT, CO are good targets. AK is good alone. MT, ID, WY are also good.

    Purple PACs effort to go nationwide with a small amount of money is less effective. They would have been more effective had they picked among the target states I’ve suggested on IPR.

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