That accounts for nearly 1 in 4 TV ads aired so far in the 2016 presidential race by any source, Democratic or Republican.
That includes any of nearly two dozen other presidential candidates, political parties and political action committees. It also includes big-dollar super PACs and nonprofit groups, which, thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for political candidates.
Measured another way: Clinton’s campaign has aired more TV ads than the campaigns of Republicans Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio combined.
Consider that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — so far, Clinton’s main Democratic primary rival, who has recently risen in polls, especially in New Hampshire — has not yet aired a single TV ad while drawing huge crowds to campaign events.
Nor have the campaigns of Clinton’s other Democratic challengers who will debate her on Tuesday: former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia — although a super PAC backing O’Malley, Generation Forward PAC, has aired a few dozen ads in Iowa.
Clinton — a former first lady, senator and secretary of state — certainly doesn’t need TV ads to help in the name recognition department. A Gallup poll this summer concluded, unsurprisingly, that Democratic voters are almost universally familiar with her. On the Republican side, only Donald Trump challenges the Clinton’s familiarity.
Her problem? Many people just don’t like her. Gallup in September placed her overall favorability rating at 41 percent — the lowest it has been since early 1990s, during Bill Clinton’s first term and amid their efforts to pass universal health care legislation.
A number of factors explain why.
Hillary Clinton has endured massive fallout from her use of a private email server as secretary of state. She has faced lingering questions about her actions before and after the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three associates in Benghazi, Libya. She has gone weeks at a time without conducting unscripted interviews, feeding concerns that she’s unshakably secretive.
Her campaign has also at times appeared ham-handed. It paradoxically revealed, for example, that she was planning to become more spontaneous — earning her more than a few snickers and barbs.
Each Clinton TV spot until this week largely focused on her, generally casting her as decisive and visionary, Kantar Media/CMAG data indicate.
Many ads tout her work on health care matters, student debt, equal pay and other perceived concerns of people she has called “everyday Americans.”
One ad features her new granddaughter. “You should not have to be the grandchild of a former president to know you can make it in America,” Clinton says in the spot as upbeat music plays. “That will be my mission as president — to make sure I do everything I can, every single day, to knock down the barriers, to open up the doors, so that every child has a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.”
Save for a few vague swipes at unnamed Republicans, not one Clinton-sponsored ad through Monday pilloried Sanders or chided Trump or contrasted Clinton’s record with those of Republican candidates such Bush or Rubio.