By Katherine Libby
In the weeks leading up to the election, the number of presidential television ad campaigns has soared to an unprecedented level, irritating many young voters.
The Associated Press, surveying approximately 1,000 undecided voters, reported that 60 percent said television advertisements did not sway them one way or another. A third of those voters said they were less likely to vote for either candidate after watching the ads.
Diana Friedman, a student at George Mason University, was first introduced to politics by her father when she was 10. Although she is a self-described liberal, her belief in voting for a candidate rather than a party makes her a voter that such campaign ads target.
Unfortunately for presidential hopefuls, however, the media has never affected her beliefs; instead they have just annoyed her.
“I don’t like listening to or watching the overplayed ads that try to influence the public,” said Friedman. “It’s like they are trying to tell me what to do. I know I am capable of making my own informed decisions… so I always just tune it out.”
Friedman’s feeling towards such ads seems to be a common trend among a number of young voters. For recent George Mason graduate Darya Seraj, it’s not just about the frequency of the campaign advertisements, it’s about the content too.
Seraj believes that the ad campaigns can confuse a viewer. “It bothers me that facts are often taken out of context and can seriously mislead viewers,” said Seraj. “The first time I voted was when I was 20 and that’s mainly because I didn’t know who to believe.”
Although Seraj did her research on candidates and their policies, the constant presentation of new facts about one side or the other made her question her beliefs. “I would hear something about a candidate in an ad, I would check to see if it was true. Sometimes it was and sometimes it wasn’t. Ultimately I was left confused and frustrated,” said Seraj.
While it is clear that these television ad campaigns are an important tool for presidential candidates, both Friedman and Seraj said that the more the ads are aired, the more irritated they become and the less likely they are to listen.