Sen, Mary Landrieu
Louisiana Senate race, 2014, General election
Landrieu (D) 42.08
Cassidy (R) 40.97
Maness (R) 13.76
Clements (R) 0.96
Louisiana Senate race, 2014, runoff
Cassidy (R) 55.94
Landrieu (D) 44.06
Defeated incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu barely hit 42 percent in the general election, but in the even lower turnout runoff election last week, she actually improved her standing with the electorate, ultimately losing by 12 points. Had you asked me the day before, I would’ve guesses she was going to lose by 20.
But here’s my point: In the month between the general and the runoff election, this is what the advertising picture looked like in Louisiana:
In total, outside groups supporting Landrieu aired about 100 TV ads, compared to more than 6,000 commercials from anti-Landrieu groups.
The RNC spent $1 million in runoff ads, as did the NRA, Freedom Partners and American Crossroads each. The RNC also spent $2.9 million on field. Another conservative group, Ending Spending, spent another $1.7 million. The only outside group to help Landrieu in the runoff, the American Humane Society, spent $123,000.
And despite all those millions and all those ads, with virtually nothing happening on the Democratic side, Landrieu still narrowed her gap in the second round.
Another $10 million against her wouldn’t have made a difference. Another $10 million on her behalf wouldn’t have made a difference. In our highly polarized political environment, no one’s mind is being changed. There are no “persuadables” waiting to make up their mind after careful examination of television messaging.
There are people who could be Republican. There are people who could be Democrat. Whoever gets more of their supporters and favorable demographic populations to the polls wins. And you don’t do that by blasting the airwaves with stupid ads.