Not Much Joementum for Web Advertising in Big Connecticut Primary

lieberman_lamont.jpgLefty political blog MyDD has an item listing a bunch of donors who have recently contributed to Senator Joe Lieberman’s campaign to keep his seat. Even non-political-junkies may have heard by now about how hot the dem primary race is between Lieberman and his dark horse opponent Ned Lamont. Some think the outcome will be a bellwether for November’s congressional elections.

Well, the big primary election is tomorrow: the perfect time to throw some last-minute pre-election money online where folks will be spending time researching the issues, reading local sites and blogs and conducting searches for info. So, is Lieberman using any of that campaign cash towards online ads? It doesn’t look that way. And from what I can tell, his rival isn’t spending online either.

I browsed the left-leaning blogs, Connecticut-based and beyond. I hit the local Connecticut daily newspaper sites, big and small. I even set up a new New York Times site registration using a Connecticut zip code to see if either was targeting ads to nutmeg state residents. I came up dry every time.

I even put in a few calls to some paper sites to see if any had heard from either campaign or approached them about advertising; the sole interactive ad guy I spoke with said political ad campaigns are too short, so he usually doesn’t pursue those sorts of advertisers. He likes to sign year-long contracts. (Sheesh, these newspaper sites really do need some help if they’re to attract any real dough from anybody, much less big national brand advertisers.)

Why no ads? First off, the fact is Web ads are often an afterthought for political campaigns. But more important, I’m guessing, is the difference between a primary and a general election. Primary campaigners must rally the base, the party members (in this case, even the once-unaffiliated who are registering as dems just so they can participate in the primary). Primary voters tend to already be more engaged in the issues than general election voters. Most at this point, I’m sure, are already on the Lamont side or the Lieberman side, and that’s that. Maybe buying last minute ads would be a waste of time.

But wait a minute! These guys are all over TV, right? If anything, you’d think they’d throw a few bucks online just for get-out-the-vote or donation purposes.

Another thing that just might be playing into the lack of online ads is the fact that this primary is getting tons of media attention. The liberal and dem blogs — Connecticut-centric and otherwise — have been all over it (lots are all for Lamont, who really has gotten tons of momentum through the “netroots”). Today, for instance, My Left Nutmeg has a post urging people from outside Connecticut to ” get involved in MoveOn’s distributed phone banking program.”

Television campaign ads are flooding YouTube, and PoliticsTV is even advertising its “Campaign Video Highlights culled from the ‘Net” on AmericaBlog.

Maybe with all that blogging and CGM, the campaigns don’t think they need to actually buy ads. This is a super tight one though, and I’m sure Lieberman, who’s closing in on Lamont according to a poll today, could use any boost he can get.

Who is advertising the unusually nationalized senate primary? Media outlets. Do searches on the candidate’s names on Google, MSN, Yahoo and Ask and here’s a smattering of the sponsored links you’ll find:

The Lieberman Race
The New York Times reports on the
Connecticut Democratic primary
www.nytimes.com

Democratic Primary
Senator Pins Lieberman Hope on
Primary. Read Full Story.
ABCNews.com

Joe Lieberman
Visit ABC Good Morning America for
the Full Story & Latest News.
ABCNews.com

Senator Headed for Defeat
Greenfield: With Lieberman,
it’s more than just Iraq
CNN.com

And, of course, the irrelevant templated ads are always the best:

Joe Lieberman
Find pics, news, movies, interviews
filmography and more at Moviefone
Moviefone.com

lieberman
Get new lieberman on eBay Express.
Happy Shopping!

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