Political Advertising and the 2020 Elections

Students in Barbara Allen’s POSC 204/304 and 223 classes, Media and Electoral Politics and Lab in Electoral Politics, designed and conducted original research on voters’ views of political advertising. Working in four teams, POSC 204/304 students created political ads with the help of media and design specialist Dann Hurlbert. They learned how voters understand ad tone and content by showing their ads to subjects recruited for an online asynchronous focus group survey — a methodology made necessary by the Covid-19 pandemic, which was also the backdrop to the 2020 election.

Students in the POSC 223 lab course used data from an experiment studying contrast ads with subjects randomly recruited using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and Qualtrics Survey Methodology. The subjects viewed contrast ads created by Barbara Allen and Dann Hurlbert for an experiment managed by Moses Jehng ’22 that varied the sex of the candidate and the voiceover artist. The students worked with data support expert Paula Lackie and presentation and visual design expert Doug Foxgrover to show their research in data graphics. They presented their research in Ted-like Talks filmed by Dan Hurlbert.