March 24, 2016
Our treasure trove of data on political ads has just gotten richer. It’s now possible to download transcripts of most ads. In addition, we’ve added a feature making it possible to filter issue ads and candidate ads, as well as view ads by race, cycle, and district (for House and Senate ads).
Here’s how to get the goods:
Transcripts. Transcripts of ads are in a new field called “transcript” in the spreadsheet of “unique ads” found here.
Here is where to find the transcript in the spreadsheet:
Issue ads and campaign ads. We have started posting issue ads, assigning the label of “issue ads” to ads that, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets out in its disclosure requirements for broadcasters, communicate “a message relating to any political matter of national importance…including a national legislative issue of public importance.”
For example, these two ads focusing on social security from the AARP (American Association for Retired People) together have gotten more than 9,600 airings in the markets that that the Political TV Ad Archive has tracked.
We refer to ads sponsored by candidates’ campaigns, or ads from outside groups that discuss candidates, as “campaign ads.”
Here’s where to find the information on issue ads and campaign ads in the spreadsheet.
Race, district, cycle. As the Political TV Ad Archive continues to collect ads, we expect to collect more examples of ads for House and Senate campaigns, in addition to the presidential campaign. It is now possible to filter for cycle, office, race, and district. Here is where to find the information in the spreadsheet.
These data reflect the information the Political TV Ad Archive has collected while tracking 20 markets in nine early primary states.
Going forward, we are collecting ads aired in New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, which the TV News Archive tracks on a continuing basis. Meanwhile, we are making plans and fundraise to track ads in key swing states in the general election. Our ad collection also includes ads that we have not found airing on television but which have either aired in markets we have not tracked or that appear solely on social media.