Nation: Taking Those Spot Shots

Carter and Reagan put their money on prime time commercials

Now comes the $16 million question: Can paid political advertisements on television measurably influence the outcome of the Nov. 4 presidential election? Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan cannot be certain that their TV campaigns will make much difference at all, yet each is gambling roughly that amount in his drive to lure the American voter. For each, the $16 million is more than half of his allotted $29.4 million in total campaign funds—the highest percentage presidential candidates have ever devoted to television. In contrast,...

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