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Crowdfunder: Researchers want to know: Do Shadow Groups Run Our Democracy?

LatinaLista — It’s no secret that the injection of money into the United States political system is impacting the concept of democracy. Now, a group of researchers from the University of California at San Diego want to know by how much.

In 2014 over a billion dollars was spent on television advertising. In 2016, because of the presidential race, four billion dollars is expected to be spent on television advertising. What effect is this having on elections?

Does it influence who we vote for?

This project extends some previous work in examining how candidate advertising persuades. Now, researcher David M. Searle seeks to demonstrate how persuasive interest group ads are compared to candidates’ ads.

Do voters notice the difference between interest group and candidate ads? Are interest group ads more persuasive than candidates’ ads? In light of political polarization, do these interest group ads cause voters to perceive candidates as more ideologically extreme?

This study seeks to clarify the power and influence of interest group advertising on voter preferences. This project questions the extent to which political advertising affects congressional elections and has implications for limiting campaign expenditures and interest group influence.

Interest group advertising represents a new phenomenon with implications for campaign finance and public policy, and little previous research. There is currently little information on how large or small of a persuasive effect these groups are having on our elections.

Voters often have little information about their congressional candidates and so the information they glean from advertising becomes that much more relevant and important to their vote choice. This project measures the new and growing power of interest groups in determining electoral outcomes and the influence of money in our democracy.

The funding goal is $1,680.

Campaign: Do Shadow Groups Run Our Democracy? How Interest Group Advertising Persuades Voters

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