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WSHU's guide of where, when and how to vote in Connecticut during the 2020 election.

Report: Political TV Ads At All-Time High Despite Falling Viewership

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The volume of political ads on television in this year’s general election are on track to shatter all previous records. This is despite a drop off in the number of television viewers. That’s the finding of a Wesleyan University Media Project report.

Michael Frantz is with the Wesleyan Media Project. He said more than 4.9 million television ads have been aired on broadcast and national cable by the presidential campaigns and for U.S. House and Senate races.

That’s more than twice the volume of the 2016 race and well above the previous record — set in the 2018 midterm.

“It reflects how invested donors are in this election cycle. They are donating a lot of money to groups and they have a lot of money to spend,” Frantz said.

Frantz said this is while the audience for live television has decreased.

“To see this level of TV is really quite amazing. It reflects the kind of money people have to run for office. And also a sense that even though there’s fewer people watching live television the audience is fairly older and consistently turning out to vote,” he said.

The media markets with the most ad buys are Phoenix, Arizona; Charlotte, North Carolina; De Moines, Iowa; and Atlanta, Georgia. Those markets all feature hotly contested U.S. Senate races.

Ads for House races are up but only slightly over the 2018 midterm level.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.