By Guido Stempel
Although Americans have been inundated with television ads for presidential candidates, most don't believe those ads affected what they think about the candidates.
That's the finding of a national telephone survey of 1,003 randomly selected adults just completed by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University and the Scripps Howard News Service. Only 4 percent said the ads were very influential, and 18 percent said they were somewhat influential.
Most respondents considered the political ads boring and annoying. Twenty-eight percent said they were very boring; 30 percent, somewhat boring; 33 percent, often annoying; and another 33 percent, sometimes annoying.
Forty-seven percent of the respondents thought the ads were less negative than those in the 2004 presidential campaign. Forty-three percent felt Hillary Clinton's ads were the most negative, while 13 percent said Barack Obama's were most negative and 9 percent said John McCain's were most negative. Thirty-one percent said they didn't know.
McCain and Obama were considered to have the most honest ads, and Obama, by a wide margin, was considered to have the most inspirational ads.
Nineteen percent of the respondents did not recall seeing any ads for presidential candidates, while 21 percent of the respondents said they had seen more than 100 ads for candidates.
The survey was prepared by Hong Cheng, associate professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Ohio University students interviewed the participants between May 12 and 27.