Advertising Competition in Presidential Elections, Quantitative Marketing and Economics
Presidential candidates purchase advertising based on each state's potential to tip the election. The structure of the Electoral College concentrates spending in battleground states, such that a majority of voters are ignored. We estimate an equilibrium model of competition between candidates and consider a counterfactual with a Direct Vote. We find advertising would be spread more evenly across states, but left-leaning markets would receive substantially fewer exposures due to higher media prices. The influence of advertising prices arises because geographic variation in political preferences no longer dominates campaign decisions. This suggests a general reduction in candidates' favoritism of particular states.
Brett Gordon, Wesley Hartmann
Gordon, Brett, and Wesley Hartmann. 2016. Advertising Competition in Presidential Elections. Quantitative Marketing and Economics. 14(1): 1-40.LINK