Insights Blog

March 16th, 2016

Why Marco Rubio’s Ads Didn’t Sway Voters

Author

Ace Metrix

With Marco Rubio bowing out of the Republican race yesterday, Ace Metrix took a look at how his political ads fared and whether his messages resonated with voters. Rubio’s ads actually scored well among his party voters, with 15 out of 17 ads scoring above the All Republican Voter Ace Score norm (457), outperforming Cruz and Trump as a whole. Marco Rubio’s campaign is an example of having good ads but poor voter performance. Why? These findings were based on Rubio’s TV ads and those run by his PAC Conservative Solutions that aired between January 9 and March 9, as well as a comparison of the top Republican-focused ads of the past 30 days. Key reasons why his ads contributed to poor voter performance:

  • In looking at Rubio’s 15 ads that performed above the Republican norm, we found that the majority of them contained very undifferentiated Republican message on topics such as jobs, tax cuts, and anti-Hillary. Republicans liked the message, but any candidate could have said the same thing.
  • Rubio’s character ads, which were meant be more personal and engaging, and less political, fell flat. “Football” and “Faith”, which had that theme were among his worst scoring ads and had lower Impact Scores* as well.
  • In contrast to “Football”, a similarly-themed ad from Ted Cruz called “Parents” did a much more effective job of connecting with Republican voters. It had an impressive Impact Score of 63 and was the second-highest scoring Republican ad in the past 30 days.
  • In looking at the top 10 Republican-focused ads of the past 30 days, Rubio only had two ads, where Kasich and Cruz had four each. The central themes of Kasich’s and Cruz’ ads were around jobs – again, undifferentiated, but were found more impactful — and the candidate’s character. The two top ten Rubio ads were endorsements.
  • Our analysis found that Rubio’s ads did not resonate as well among Republican men as they did with women, with 12 of 21 ads indexing higher than for men, by an average of 37 points. The highest differential was seen for the anti-Hillary ad “Disqualified”, performing 66 points higher among Republican women.
  • Conservation Solutions, Rubio’s super PAC, put out four ads, all of which were negative and calling out other candidates. Two of these ads, “Serious” and “Both Right” were in the bottom quintile for effectiveness among Republicans. “Serious” referred to Rubio as a disciple of Reagan and while insulting Trump and Cruz.

In the ads shown below, “ACE” refers to the Ace Score among Republican voters.

brand

category

air date

score(s)

Disqualified

Marco Rubio for President

Presidential

01.20.2016

603

Defeat Hillary

Marco Rubio for President

Presidential

01.29.2016

587

Bill Haslam

Marco Rubio for President

Presidential

02.25.2016

582

Family

Marco Rubio for President

Presidential

02.16.2016

525

Faith

Marco Rubio for President

Presidential

01.10.2016

525

Football

Marco Rubio for President

Presidential

01.09.2016

380

Parents

Cruz for President

Presidential

02.29.2016

619

Progress

Kasich for America

Presidential

02.25.2016

624

*The Impact Score directly measures the ad’s influence on the voting decision by asking the question “after seeing this ad, how likely or unlikely are you to vote for the candidate?”

About Ace Metrix POLITICS
Launched in 2012, 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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