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Media Buying in Politics

Media buying in politics refers to the purchasing of advertising in print or electronic media by the candidate or his or her campaign. A media plan is developed early in a campaign and includes exactly which stations and newspapers the candidate wants to advertise in. Typically, especially for a challenger candidate, the media plan starts at Election Day and works backward. This way, the media is heaviest right before undecided voters make their final decision. In contrast, many incumbents will start a media campaign earlier, essentially because they are more confident in their ability to raise funds should they run low. Incumbents will also use heavier media in the week before the election, however.

For radio and television, local and state candidates must first find out ...

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