Tracing the evolution of political advertising from 1952 through 2016, Darrell M. West returns with his much anticipated Seventh Edition of Air Wars: Television Advertising and Social Media in Election Campaigns, 1952-2016. Integrating the latest data and key events from the 2016 campaigns–including the most provocative presidential campaign in recent decades and the surprising victory of Donald Trump–West provides in-depth examination and insight into how candidates plan and execute advertising and social media campaigns, how the media covers these campaigns, and how American voters are ultimately influenced by them. This new edition includes coverage of social media campaigning, nano-targeting strategies in a fragmented electorate, and thorough analysis of the 2016 presidential campaign, from the candidates’ use of Twitter to concerns over falsehoods and deception, the impact of ads and debates on candidate perceptions, and the risks to democratic elections from new campaign developments.

Learning About the Candidates

Learning About the Candidates

Early efforts to study the impact of ads emphasized learning about substantive matters. Do the media provide information that increases voters’ knowledge of where candidates stand on the issues? To the pleasant surprise of scholars, research revealed that voters who watched ads got more information than did those exposed only to television news.1 Experimental work also supported claims about the educational virtues of commercials.2 Ads did not help candidates create new political images based on personality; rather, political commercials allowed viewers to learn about the issues.

Notwithstanding the undeniable trend of these studies, researchers have persisted in their efforts to examine the effects of advertising. Great changes have taken place in the structure of political campaigns since earlier ...

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