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Two Incumbent Governors Are Buying Radio Early. Surveys Show They’re Having An Impact.


The typical MO for political campaigns is to run radio spots closer to Election Day than Labor Day. But a pair of high-profile incumbent governors running for re-election are going against the grain, buying radio early and often. Online surveys conducted among likely voters show an increase in voting intention among those who heard the radio campaigns.


Both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) are not only hitting radio earlier and harder than their opponents, but they are also buying ads on a wide variety of formats. A Katz Radio Group analysis of Media Monitors data found both governors began airing spots in their respective states before Labor Day, 12 weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.


Pritzker’s radio buy goes well beyond the favored news/talk format to include urban, urban AC, soft AC, hot AC, classic rock, classic hits, and AOR. Abbott’s radio plan is deep in talk formats (news, news/talk, talk, sports), as well as music, including Spanish-language, country, classic rock, classic hits, adult hits, and AC.


To understand how their current radio campaigns are influencing voters, Katz conducted online surveys with likely voters in both Texas and Illinois. Results show Texans who heard Abbott’s radio campaign were 5% more likely to vote for him compared to those who have not heard it. And in Illinois, voters experienced a 4% lift in intention to vote for Pritzker among those who heard his radio campaign vs. those who did not.


Polls show both incumbents are favored to retain their seats. But Katz notes their political advertising serves as a reminder to both their bases and undecideds and helps make incremental gains in voter impression. “Every percentage point counts for political campaigns, and radio is proven to positively impact voter intention,” Katz says in a post on its Sound Answers blog. “Greg Abbott and JB Pritzker show that incumbent candidates from both sides of the aisle stand to benefit from using AM/FM radio to engage with voters. They both invested early in key markets and embraced a variety of formats, which is proving to lay crucial groundwork ahead of the general election.”

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