HARTFORD, CT — In 2017, digital advertising spending surpassed television advertising, but sometimes politicians, especially in Connecticut, are slow to change a formula they believe has been working.
In Connecticut, the candidates have been “carpet bombing the airwaves,” according to Quinnipiac University Assistant Journalism Professor Rich Hanley.
“Locally, the primary candidates are going wall-to-wall with television,” Hanley said.
He said things may have changed nationally, but Connecticut is a different state where the primary voter is “a little older and more aligned with certain patterns of behavior, so TV is best way reach voters.”
He said things may change some in the next election cycle, but he doesn’t anticipate digital advertising will surpass TV this year in Connecticut.
As far as those grainy ads with ominous music, Hanley said the candidates have already transitioned to going negative in the first half of the ad, but end on a positive note. While negative advertising does work, it’s the last impression the voter has that sticks with them, he added.
The seven gubernatorial candidates — five Republicans and two Democrats — have already spent more than $16.5 million on their races. That doesn’t count the spending done by three independent expenditure groups for three of the five Republican candidates.
As far as turnout is concerned, Hanley said rain will likely “dampen whatever enthusiasm exists.” The forecast calls for scattered showers throughout the day.
Voter turnout in the 2014 Republican primary was 21 percent. That’s lower than it was in Republican primaries in 2012 and 2010, when around 28 percent and 30 percent of the party voted, respectively.
In 2006, the first year the party primaries were held in August, turnout out on the Democratic side was about 43 percent. The contest that year featured a hotly contested race between then-U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman and Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont. Lamont defeated Lieberman, who went on to win the general election as an independent. There was also a pitched battle that year between now-Gov. Dan Malloy and former New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr.
DeStefano defeated Malloy to win the nomination, but he went on to lose to former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
In 2010, when Lamont was running against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in that year’s Democratic primary, turnout was 25 percent.
More than 1.2 million voters, or about 57 percent of the electorate, are eligible to vote in today’s primaries for governor, along with four constitutional offices, U.S. Senate, Congress, and the legislature.
There were 275,114 new voters registered between the 2016 president election and the end of June. Of that, 81,908 are newly registered Democratic voters, 43,390 are newly registered Republican voters. The rest — or about 149,000 — didn’t register with a party.
There are about 2.1 million registered voters in the state and about 859,470 are unaffiliated voters and won’t be able to participate in the Aug. 14 primary.