Advertising is everywhere, but is it effective?

Candidates have already spent $250 million in advertising for the primary, Cal State Sacramento’s Barbara O’Connor says.

“Anyone who was trying to watch broadcast television or listen to radio was going crazy,” she says.

And she warns that it will only get worse as Democratic candidates jump into the fray.

But she says that with the exception of a few ads like Carly Fiorina’s much-discussed “demon sheep” ad (which you can read more about here), most politicians have relied on traditional ads.

But do these tactics work, or does the constant barrage of attack ads and robocalls get written off as “clutter” by voters? O’Connor says she has her doubts.

In the fall, she thinks, the primary winners might take a different tack, reaching out to younger and tech-savvier voters with more social media and other innovative approaches.

You can see The Week's compilation of some of 2010's most vicious ads, including a few from California, here.

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