The American factory played an unprecedented role in the 2012 presidential advertising war, a manufacturing group said Tuesday, and the Quad-Cities ranked high up the list in terms of exposure.
An analysis of TV ads in the presidential campaign said nearly a million ads mentioned jobs, outsourcing and trade or involved Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s involvement with Bain Capital. The study was done by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group for the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
Anybody watching television in the Quad-Cities knows political ads focused heavily on jobs and the economy. But the new analysis says in the 60 markets they studied, the Quad-Cities ranked in the top third in the number of spots aired during the presidential race focusing on those issues.
More than 17,000 jobs-related ads aired in the Quad-Cities in the presidential election at a cost of $11.1 million, 20th out of the 60 markets, the analysis said.
Television markets in Ohio, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado saw a higher numbers of ads. Ohio, in particular, saw unprecedented numbers. In Cleveland, for example, there were nearly 34,000 jobs-related ads in the presidential campaign.
The figures don’t include congressional races in the Quad-Cities. The race for the 17th Congressional District seat in Illinois saw a large number of jobs-related ads.
Even with the growth of dot-com and service businesses, the factory floor is still popular, the report said.
“I think there is an understanding in our country that at the very least, we need to have a balanced economy,” said Scott Paul, executive director of the manufacturing group.
Paul said he saw little likelihood that the White House will call China a currency manipulator, a key promised made by Romney during the campaign. But he said he expects President Barack Obama to follow through on manufacturing-related promises.
The president said during the campaign he would work to create a million new manufacturing jobs.
Manufacturing is a key part of the Quad-City economy. About 24,000 jobs are tied to the sector, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ads that centered on trade were big, too. They aired nearly 1,700 times in the Quad-Cities, also in the top third of the 60 markets.
There were nearly 1,500 ads in the presidential race referring to China. And nearly 1,900 ads aired in the Quad-Cities that referred to Bain Capital, the company Romney founded, according to the study.
That pales in comparison with Cleveland, however, where nearly 5,700 Bain-related ads were aired in the presidential campaign.
The study said that despite being outspent and out-aired on jobs-related advertising, the Democratic messaging proved more effective.
Elizabeth Wilner, vice president at Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, noted an ad aired by the Priorities USA SuperPac was rated the most effective by one of the units of Kantar Media.
The ad featured a worker at a Bain-owned factory in Indiana who said he and others were told to build a stage at the plant. Shortly after doing so, some men got up on the stage and told workers at the plant that it was closing and they were being fired.
The worker in the ad also said Romney made more than a hundred million dollars from shutting down the plant. The Politifact website, however, said that was the profit made by Bain and all of its investors, not just Romney, and it was for a larger deal than just the single plant mentioned in the ad.