New research by Michigan State political scientist Corwin Smidt confirms that the percentage of voters who are truly “independent,” swinging from party to party, has plunged from 15 percent in the 1960s to just 5 percent today. Crossing over party lines to vote for the other tribe’s presidential candidate has become virtually nonexistent. As Jonathan Chait recently put it in NYMag.com: “The dominant fact of American politics is that nobody is changing their mind about anything [any longer].”
At the same time, I just read that the projected aggregate ad budget for the 2016 Presidential campaign will exceed $6 billion. That’s with a “B”! (Not an exaggeration, it was this huge in 2012.)
You do the math; see if I’ve got it right. Our population is about 300 million. But after subtracting those not eligible to vote and those who didn’t vote even though eligible, the number who did vote in the 2012 Presidential election was about 126 million. So, 5% of that is a little over 6 million. Let’s call it an even 6 million to keep the math simple.
Last time I checked, 6 billion is 6,000 million. Divide 6 thousand million dollars spent on campaign advertising by 6 million voters who might be influenced by that advertising effort and that comes to $1,000 on each voter who hasn’t yet made up his or her mind. I am one of the 5% who can be influenced, but not by ads. I’d be more influenced if they just sent me a check for $1,000 and let me decide how to spend it.
I don’t know about you, but if we’re still looking for a definition for obscenity, we might just have found it.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
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