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Political Ads

OPB | Oct. 15, 2008 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:45 p.m.

Do they impact the way you vote?

Turn on the television today and the one thing you’re almost guaranteed to see is a campaign ad. There’s Republican senator Gordon Smith working “across party lines” with Democratic senator Ron Wyden.

And, in response, Senator Wyden telling people the ads will be over soon and, instead, to support Smith’s Democratic opponent, Jeff Merkley.

Or Jeff Merkley eating a hot dog. Or Gordon Smith’s campaign being called “sleazy and broken.”

And that’s just a smattering of the senate ads (which, according to political observer Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian, were a big topic of discussion at last night’s debate in Medford). Of course there are plenty of ad buys for local races, and you may have heard that Obama and McCain have been putting out a few spots as well. Attack ads, negative ads, misleading facts and figures — they’re all a part of the visual wallpaper of an election season.

But how successful are they? What message do they send? What impact do campaign ads have on who you vote for? Do you pay attention to them? Or switch channels? And what about the bevy of ads on the internet? Do you check them out — or surf on?

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