Insights Blog

April 8th, 2016

Bernie Sanders Continues to Deliver the Most Effective Ads

Author

Ace Metrix

As of this writing, less than 40% of the delegates remain on both the Republican and Democrat side. Bernie Sanders has momentum winning 7 of the last 8 Democratic primary contests, and Ted Cruz’s win in Wisconsin keeps the GOP race alive. We’re reaching the home stretch leading into the Conventions for each party. That said, Ace Metrix took a look at what’s been working so far with voters in Presidential campaign ads over the past 90 days.

What about the top performing ads is working?

Bernie Sanders’ campaign continues to produce effective ads, earning the highest scoring ad across all candidates and voting groups with “For Jobs for Us” with an Ace Score of 570. He has also six of the top eleven ads during this time period. The list also includes two spots for Kasich, two Anti-Trump ads and one ad for Ted Cruz. Hillary Clinton’s highest scoring ad comes in at number 15 on the list.

Bernie Sanders’ ad “For Jobs for Us,” earned the highest Ace Score with 570 (Presidential category norm is 443.) The theme of job creation resonated in many of the top ads with Democrats and Republicans alike. The “For Jobs” ad demonstrates above norm scores across all parties – Republicans (501), Independents (577), and Democrats (668).

The top ads from this period indicate that a key driver to an effective political ad is securing high Attention scores. Seven of the top eleven ads had Attention Scores at least 40 points above the norm, with the highest for the Anti-Trump ads “Quotes” and “Bob.” These ads are direct and to the point, which helps when voters are over-saturated with messages.

For perspective, we’ve tested 240 Presidential ads over the last 90 days. Of the remaining candidates that breaks down across Ted Cruz (51), Bernie Sanders (33), Hillary Clinton (27), John Kasich (16), and Donald Trump (7). Anti-Trump PACs contributed 28 ads to the total and 78 are from candidates no longer in the race.

Top Presidential Campaign Ads, Past 90 Days (across Republican, Democrat and Independent voters)

500 respondents per ad and a sample of national registered voters balanced to the U.S. Census.
The Impact Score (on a scale of 1-100) measures response to the question, “How does this ad change the likelihood that you will vote for this candidate?” The Presidential Campaign norm is 44.
Rank Sponsor Candidate Ad Title Ace Score Impact

Score

1 Bernie 2016 Bernie Sanders For Jobs For Us 570 56
2 Bernie 2016 Bernie Sanders Bull 567 52
3 Bernie 2016 Bernie Sanders Fairness 566 55
4 America Future Fund Anti-Donald Trump Bob 564 36
5 New Day for America John Kasich Hinge 562 49
5 Bernie 2016 Bernie Sanders Voice 562 53
7 Kasich for America John Kasich Progress 558 55
7 Bernie 2016 Bernie Sanders Stood With American Workers 558 52
9 Our Principles PAC Anti-Donald Trump Quotes 555 37
10 Bernie 2016 Bernie Sanders Every American 552 54
11 Bernie 2016 Bernie Sanders Expand Social Security 547 50
11 Cruz for President Ted Cruz Tax Plan 547 56

List Highlights:

  • The list of top ads indicates that the key to an effective political ad is securing high Attention scores. Seven out of eleven of the top ads have high Attention Scores, with the highest for the Anti-Trump ads “Quotes” and “Bob.”
  • High Agreement scores drive Kasich’s “Progress” and Sanders’ “Expand Social Security.” The second highest scoring ad, “Bull” from Bernie, which focused on the candidate standing up to Wall Street, scored high in Learning, which means it educated viewers.
  • Bernie’s “For Jobs for Us,” earned the highest Ace Score of the quarter with 570 (political category norm is 443). The theme of job creation resonated with Democrats and Republicans alike, as evidenced by the above norm scores across all parties – Republicans (501), Independents (577), and Democrats (668.)
  • The highest scoring ad supporting Kasich, is from the New Day for America PAC. “Hinge,” (Ace Score 562) also has a jobs theme as well as anti-Trump messages throughout. The anti-Trump theme of the ad may have helped show Kasich in a favorable light among Democrats as well as Republicans. In fact, the ad received higher scores form Democrats (Ace Score 608) and Independents (Ace Score 520) than Republicans (Ace Score 517.)
  • The ads with the highest Impact Scores belong to Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz. Hillary Clinton’s highest scoring ad, “Predatory Pricing” had an Impact Score of 54, so her ads are in line with the top scores of other candidates, including John Kasich.

See the top performing ads among voters from each party here.

About Ace Metrix POLITICS
Ace Metrix POLITICS provides video ad effectiveness metrics and data to campaigns, PACs, and advocacy groups, based on 500 respondents per ad and a sample of national registered voters balanced to the US census. The data collected provides insights into the effectiveness of the ad, verbatim responses and the likelihood the ad changed the way respondents will vote.

For more information on Ace Metrix POLITICS, please email Mark Bryant: mbryant@acemetrix.com

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