Candidate Appearance in Campaign Advertisements

Kevin Banda, Windett H Jason, Jason H. Windett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Many scholars have examined the nature of campaign advertising strategy across differing contexts in U.S. elections. Little attention has been devoted to exploring the incentives that candidates face to appear — or not — in their own advertisements. We argue that candidates should seek to distance themselves from potential backlash stemming from more negative messages by not appearing in negative ads. We also expect that candidates should be more likely to appear in advertisements aired during primary elections relative to general elections because candidates should use ads in this election stage to introduce themselves to voters. Furthermore, incumbents should be less likely to appear in ads than other candidates because their constituents should not need to be introduced to them. Data on candidate-sponsored television advertisements collected across four years for four different offices provides support for our expectations and suggests that candidates make strategic decisions about when to appear in advertisements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102275
JournalElectoral Studies
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Campaign advertisements
  • Candidate strategy
  • Incumbency
  • Negative advertising
  • Primary elections


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