SOME SPANISH-LANGUAGE ADS RAN ON ENGLISH STATIONS
A few candidates ran Spanish-language or bilingual spots during the network and affiliate news programs on English-language ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX affiliates. For example, Democratic Candidates for Senate and Governor in New Mexico, a state which has a large population of longtime Hispanic citizens and a constitution that recognizes two official languages, aired Spanish-language advertisements during English broadcasts on English networks.
EXPECTATIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS MET
Notwithstanding unprecedented levels of Spanish-language television advertising in this yearís election, there still appear to be candidates and parties who promise this community more than they deliver. On a number of occasions in 2002 candidates and party organizations created Spanish-language television and radio advertisements and released them at news conferences only to never use them or save them for limited airings in the final days of the campaign.
NATIONAL SPENDING COMPARISON
Spending on Spanish-language ads this year accounted for less than two percent of political television ad spending nationally. According to the Wisconsin Advertising Project, more than $1 billion was spent on all political ads nationally. Yet, Spanish-language ads accounted for only $16 million of all political advertising. This is despite the fact that Hispanics comprised between five and seven percent of voters nationally in recent election cycles and 12.5 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Voter News Service.
It is important to note that Spanish-language ad spending only occurred in statewide races in only 8 states and in other campaigns in 16 total states this year, while all other political advertising occurred much more widely. Even in states with big spenders on Spanish-language ads such as New York Gov. (less than 3.5 percent), Colorado Sen. (less than 2 percent), and Texas Sen. (less than 1 percent), spending on Spanish-language advertising was only a small fraction of total political ad spending.
Republican Governor Jeb Bush sailed to re-election in part as a result of his strong showing among the stateís Hispanic voters. The Florida Republican Party and the Bush campaign aired more than $1.8 million in positive Spanish-language television advertisements (more than 900 spots) in support of Jeb Bush in Miami, Orlando and Tampa. His opponent, Democratic businessman Bill McBride, relied upon support from the Florida Democratic Party which aired under $150,000 in positive Spanish-language television advertisements (more than 250 spots) in the same markets. The Partyís McBride ads, which only began airing during the final two weeks of the campaign, also touted two other down-ballot candidates.
In Florida U.S. House races, 8th District Democratic challenger Eddie Diaz ran almost $60,000 in Spanish-language television ads in his losing campaign against Republican Congressman Ric Keller. Republican Mario Diaz-Balart was elected to Congress in the 25th District largely populated by Cuban Americans, spending over $110,000 on Spanish-language broadcast television advertising.
Democratic Governor Gray Davis spent more than $1.7 million on positive Spanish-language television advertising in his successful re-election campaign in the general election across the state. He also aired more than $200,000 in the primary, according to his campaign. Davisí high level of spending on Spanish-language television ads was more than any previous candidate has ever spent in a California Governorís race. In addition, the ads were more sophisticated than ads previously run in California statewide campaigns and were specially designed for the Hispanic market. Davis aired these ads, and nearly $100,000 in positive radio ads, in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Fresno, and Sacramento media markets. Davisí opponent, Republican businessman Bill Simon spent more than $250,000 on Spanish language ads during 2002 but aired few ads in the final two months of the campaign. Simonís Republican primary opponent, former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan, spent more than $55,000 on Spanish-language primary ads.
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