Editor’s note: The Center for Public Integrity is tracking political advertising in races for the U.S. Senate and state-level offices. Use these two, interactive features — with new data every Thursday — to see who is calling the shots and where the money is being spent.
Though the Illinois state senate is long behind Barack Obama, the president has been a hot topic in state-level elections this year.
The president or his signature health care law have been mentioned in more than 1 out of every 10 television ads that have aired about elections for state-level political office so far in the run-up to Nov. 4, according to the latest Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from media tracking service Kantar Media/CMAG.
Comparatively, more than one-third of political ads in U.S. Senate races have mentioned the president, according to the Center’s analysis.
Combined, more than 300,000 ads have aired mentioning Obama or the health care law.
While it’s not unusual for the president to be invoked in federal races, the focus on Obama at the state level is comparatively novel, according to Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. He attributes it, in part, to a growing partisan split among voters.
“In a lot of these campaigns, the strategies are nationalized because parties think there are fewer voters that are willing to split their tickets,” Kondik said.