I-Team: Insiders Dispute Public's Opinion of Campaign Ads - 8 News NOW

Investigative Reporter Jonathan Humbert and Photojournalist Alex Brauer

I-Team: Insiders Dispute Public's Opinion of Campaign Ads

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LAS VEGAS -- You can't escape them, morning, noon or night. Political ads keep coming and expect to see even more as campaigns desperately try to create separation in the final weeks.

But the experts dispute a new 8 News NOW-Las Vegas Review-Journal poll saying the ads have made little difference.

Not many folks like them, but if you talk to the people who make them, political ads, especially negative ones, work. It dirties up people's reputations and can sometimes be flat out wrong, but don't think they are going away.

"The bottom line is that television advertising does work," said Billy Vassiliadis with R&R Partners.

Vassiliadis currently advises the Reid camp, but he has worked his magic in campaigns for years. He says if you don't like the tone of the ads, look in the mirror.

"Campaigns, just like advertising, reflects the moods of the people they're talking to," he said.

And this year, it's about angry, disenfranchised voters. A new poll says Nevadans aren't being swayed by the ads in the Senate race. Only 6-percent say they are very important, while 64-percent say they aren't important at all.

Political insiders disagree.

"People may not think they've been effective but they've absorbed a lot of information from these ads," said Dan Hart with Hart & Associates.

Hart has run campaigns with independent expenditure committees. They have no direct contact with candidates, but still lob viscous attacks on the air.

"It's almost like background noise at this point. You don't really know where it's coming from but you know it's out there," he said.

Vassiliadis too says the numbers aren't quite right. Internal polling and focus groups show ads, both negative and positive, do work.

"People don't want to sound like they're not sophisticated enough and they believe television advertisements," he said.

So tune in and expect puns and personal attacks from now until November.

The line is being blurred more and more between the independent expenditures and campaigns, but as Vassiliadis says, sometimes the questionable quality and content of those outside groups has campaigns looking at it and say, "stop helping." But they'll keep coming.

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