Political ad breaks get positive feedback--while negative political ads don't

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - It’s about this time every election season that people have had their fill of ads telling you who you should or should not vote for. Maybe that’s why we've been getting a lot of positive feedback on our 'political ad breaks’ you’re seeing during commercials. Viewers have left us Facebook messages, emails and even voicemails thanking us for the political ad breaks.

Merle Helleckson in Fergus Falls left us this one:

"I wanted to tell you that it was really a heartwarming thought to think of putting in a political ad break,” she said. “Thank you."
So here's what people are saying about these ads, as well as whether people think they're actually working.
"I could do completely without them, I could care less,” Fargo resident, Stephanie Nelson told Valley News Live Friday afternoon. “But that's just my opinion."

"I can't wait for it to be over," Kevin Bille said, on his way from Eden Prairie, Minn. to Dickinson, N.D.

The numbers are in: folks we spoke with say they want the political ads out.

"Every other commercial seems like an ad," Bille said.

But it's not just the amount of ads. It's also the content.

"I feel like they should be maybe a little more informative, and stick to the topics, and not necessarily—I know it's just part of politics—but just bashing the other person," Nelson said.

"I hear more about what the other candidates are not doing or doing that's bad, versus what the candidate who's putting the ad is actually doing as far as making things good," Bille said.

So why does it seem to be just one attack after another?
Associate professor of communication, Elizabeth Crawford, teaches advertising at NDSU. She says getting to the real issues is too time consuming for a 30-second ad on television.

"Sometimes this is a shortcut,” Crawford said, “because if people really sit there and try to understand policy, that takes time."

And repetition is key.

"If you were to, say, compare politics to Coca Cola, I mean politics is a much more complicated issue than ‘drink sugary fizzy water,’ right so that needs more repetition there," Crawford said.

"My kids can say them word for word," Nelson said of the ads and their repetitiveness.
Bille says he wishes the ads would come later in the season as well.

"Christmas music keeps coming earlier, so do the ads," he said.
Crawford adds politicians are using fear tactics more these days as well—to hit a point quickly before a television ad time slot is up.

“I also see fear appeals, like ‘these people are not really gonna represent us, bad things are gonna happen if you don’t vote for this person,’” she said.

So does it work?

"No, not really,” Bille said. “...it's kind of hard to say who did what and what's true and what's not true."

"I wouldn't say so, I don’t think they’re swaying my decision,” Nelson said. “...I don't know exactly if it's the truth or not the truth."

While Valley News Live has received a lot of positive feedback on the political ad breaks, we’ve only received negative feedback—for the negative political ads.

The Pew Research Center has an interactive graph—showing how the political parties have become more divided and divisive since the 90s. You can check it out here: