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Barrage of TV ads turning off Wisconsin voters

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (CNN) -- It is impossible to turn on the television in Wisconsin these days without being deluged with campaign ads. More political ads have run in the Green Bay television market than almost anywhere else in the country. And to many who live here, it is a dubious honor.

Advertising graphic
 

"We've heard them 20 to 30 times. It's overdone," says one turned-off viewer.

According to a just-released independent tabulation by the Brennan Center for Justice, Green Bay television stations have carried more than 7,000 political ads in the last four months alone. Analysts say that within the battleground state of Wisconsin, this undecided region is the most crucial with just one week to go before Election Day.

"Campaigns aren't about being efficient at this point, they're desperate," says Ken Goldstein, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin.

There also has been a steady parade of candidates pressing the flesh in Wisconsin. Republican presidential hopeful George W. Bush attracted thousands to a rally in Appleton this past weekend. And now, Democratic nominee Al Gore has hastily scheduled his own rally in Green Bay.

Although the candidates come and go in a flash, the television spots are ever-present. Since June, the ads in the presidential race alone have brought Green Bay stations more than $1.7 million. One would think that all those station managers would be deliriously happy with so much political money rolling in.

"It's really displacing a lot of the advertising that would have been there anyway," says Jay Zollar, a manager at Green Bay's WLUK-TV. Local television executives say they worry about viewers -- young and old -- turning off their stations.

"I kind of tune them out now. After awhile, you quit paying attention. You're sick and tired of hearing the same thing over and over," says a young female voter.

"Like I told my wife, if I had enough money, I'd take them both to court and sue them for false advertising," says another voter.

If there is one prevailing view in this ad-weary region, it has that the best thing about presidential campaigns is that they only happen every four years.

 



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Monday, October 30, 2000


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