No October surprise here: Get-out-the-vote season has begun. In the last week, Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee have begun peppering the web with ads reminding people to vote, including ads aimed at Spanish speakers and students on college campuses such as Iowa State University. But the Trump campaign to have increased its use of issue-based messages presumably in the hopes of persuading still-undecided voters on issues like gun rights and education.
"Crooked Hillary wants your guns," reads an ad spotted online by display ad tracker Moat Pro in the last week. "Protect your second amendment rights this November. Vote." The ad features a red-hued photo of the former secretary of state, and is reminiscent of a display ad seen online during the primaries from the Ted Cruz campaign. That one featured a menacing President Obama and warned, "Obama wants your guns."
The Clinton campaign is moving towards full voter mobilization mode, according to Ad Age's analysis of ads from the campaign seen online between October 24 and October 30. "Life gets busy. Vote early, it's easy," one ad says. Get-out-the-vote ads aimed at Spanish speakers state, "Puedes votar temprano," which translates to "You can vote early."
The campaign and groups on the left including Next Gen Climate have invested in mobilizing students on college campuses to vote for Democrats this election. Students at Iowa State, for example, have seen early voting ads from the Clinton campaign. The university's newspaper website, IowaStateDaily.com, has carried digital ads in the last week featuring young women and encouraging students to "register to vote and vote early at the MU," the Memorial Union building on campus.
"Students will have the opportunity to vote early and register to vote at the Memorial Union this week," noted a recent article on the site, published alongside the ad from the Clinton camp. Another student-aimed message spotted by Moat in the past week declared, "Go vote early for Hillary! Confirm where to vote. (It might be on campus!)"
The Democratic National Committee has also been running lots of get-out-the-vote ads online in the past week.
The Moat system shows no display ads in the period measured from the Republican National Committee or the party's joint committee with the Trump campaign.
The Hillary Victory Fund, which is a joint committee of the DNC and the Clinton campaign, has remained focused in the past week on issue-based ads and ads designed to gather contact information from voters for last-minute targeting for voter mobilization.
Ad messages seem to reflect the calculation that some people, including working women and blue collar workers, remain undecided about their presidential pick. One ad lists several family-centric points on Ms. Clinton's policy platform, noting that she plans to "make debt free college available to all Americans" and "guarantee up to twelve weeks of paid leave."
Another featuring a United Automobile Workers logo appears to have targeted union workers, declaring, "Hillary has always stood with working families."
The fact that the joint committee is running ads aimed at persuading voters is certainly a reflection of the remarkable state of this election, when, with just a week to go, lots of voters remain undecided about their presidential picks, and enthusiasm towards both candidates within the base of each party is lacking.
The Trump camp has done very little get-out-the-vote advertising online thus far according to the Moat data. Instead, the campaign actually seems to have increased its issue-based display ad messaging of late. In addition to gun rights, ads spotted in the past week touched on trade, education and healthcare. One ad promised "Real healthcare reform for all Americans." Another featuring a woman and a child suggested that Mr. Trump plans on "Ending bureaucratic rule in education and placing it back where it belongs -- students and families."