Forbes’ millions go to campaign ads



    With $10 you can buy food, with $100 — clothes, with $1,000 –jewelry, and with $1,000,000 you may be able to buy yourself a job at the White House.

    Many people go through their lives dreaming of either inheriting or winning millions of dollars.

    Not everyone has these dreams, however. In fact, some people dream about getting rid of millions of dollars to achieve other riches — political riches.

    To do so, candidates are turning to one of the most familiar of all places, the television, to inform people of their ideas.

    Advertising via the mass media is not new. However, as each year goes by, more and more candidates pour greater amounts of money into television advertisements.

    One of these people turning to the new wave of million-dollar political campaigning is Steve Forbes.

    The multimillionaire magazine publisher gives us a real life example of the new trend in political campaigns — spending millions of dollars on television advertising.

    As the presidential race begins to heat up, Forbes has announced his Republican candidacy and has tossed large amounts of money into the political arena as well.

    Forbes has already spent between 5 to 7 million dollars in the last few months on television advertising.

    “To discount the fact money is important, you have to ignore a whole lot of reality that says it can be very important. It is not a sufficient condition, but it is necessary condition to be taken seriously in a presidential race,” said David Magleby, head of the Political Science Department at BYU.

    Local Utah residents also see the importance of money, but realize it is not the only driving force behind political campaigns.

    “I think Forbes’ money will permit him to become one of the top two or three candidates for sure, but I don’t think you can get elected on money alone. You have to have a certain personality,” said Orem resident Lance Edward.

    Often candidates who don’t keep in mind that it takes more than money, are knocked out of the race early.

    Democrat Bruce Babbitt spent over $250,000 for television advertising early in 1987. His disappointing showing in 1988 Iowa caucuses, however, forced him to drop from the race.

    Messages behind the money matter as well. Fortunately for candidates, it appears voters show interest in television advertisements.

    “Political advertising is very interested in the point of view that when it airs you have a fairly active and attentive audience to the political advertising message,” said Daniel Stout, advertising professor at BYU.

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