Issues category getting a workout


The political advertising category is diminished during odd-numbered years when elections are few and far between. But that doesn’t stop interest groups with an axe to grind from taking to the airwaves. In one campaign, religious groups are heading for the radio to promote health care, and an interested action committee is heading for television to combat unionization.

The religious groups, said to be left-leaning by the Associated Press, include Faith in Public Life, Faithful America, Sojourners and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. They are targeting radio spots in five states home to Democratic senators thought to be wavering on full support for President Barack Obama’s ambitious health care agenda. Included in the buy are Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Carolina.

The anti-union campaign comes from Employee Freedom Action Committee (EFAC), and is initially using television in an attempt to influence only one senator, Nebraska’s Ben Nelson (D-NE). They are asking him to oppose the pending Employee Free Choice Act. EPAC says it has $1M to spend and is planning on taking the campaign into other, as yet unnamed states shortly.

RBR/TVBR observation: There are three kinds of issue ads: those seeking to influence public opinion in general; and those aimed at citizens in the territory of a specific legislator who the advertiser wishes to influence, by inspiring favorable constituent contact on the issue at hand; and those aimed directly at legislators and their staffs, tending to appear only in Washington or a specific state capital. These are both in category 2. If you’re in the correct district, we hope you get some of the business.