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Daily Beast finds that viral campaign videos had zero effect on the election -- new Beast editor Rick Wilson hardest hit

With everyone still consumed with post-election analysis The Daily Beast offered a look into the advertising that had taken place in an attempt to learn how effective some of the voter outreach had been.

Recently Ad Age conducted an interview with one of the names from The Lincoln Project, the ever-vulgar Rick Wilson, a newly announced editor at The Daily Beast. The discussion was concerning the supposed success the anti-Trump PAC enjoyed during the election cycle.

The only issue is that this was a perceived, not a measured success.

The Beast reports that a Democrat Party operation — Priorities USA — conducted a study to find out how effective online viral political commercials had been on swaying minds for the election. The Dem super PAC looked hundreds of ads in total, but they decided to focus in on a handful of commercials run by The Lincoln Project, the highly touted group of Never Trump cranks.

“They took five ads produced by a fellow occupant in the Super PAC domain—the Lincoln Project—and attempted to measure their persuasiveness among persuadable swing state voters; i.e. the ability of an ad to move Trump voters towards Joe Biden. A control group saw no ad at all. Five different treatment groups, each made up of 683 respondents, saw one of the five ads. Afterwards they were asked the same post-treatment questions measuring the likelihood that they would vote and who they would vote for.”

The results are far from impressive. In fact, they should anger anyone who gave money to TLP during the campaign season. Priorities USA found that despite a flood of social media activity and plenty of fawning coverage in the press, the commercials that TLP ran and had everyone’s tongue wagging had less than a zero effect on the voters.

The analytics showed that the better these commercials did on social media the less persuasion they had on the electorate. The persuasion level was actually in the negative, at -0.3. The most ”popular” ad from the Lincoln Project — one entitled ”Bounty”, which repeated the debunked tale of Russia paying other countries to kill US soldiers — went on to become the least influential of their ads.

This return on investment tracks with the result seen in the election. While Joe Biden is the announced winner it was not the result of President Trump experiencing a lack of support. The Lincoln Project, along with fellow PAC Republicans Voting Against Trump, were charged with depressing the support for the President.

Recall all the news reports of prominent GOP names who were endorsing Joe Biden. Note how often the press amplified the stories of supposed republican voters who were displeased with Trump. Even at the Democratic convention we saw videos supplied by RVAT showing these turncoat voters who were backing Biden.

The results were less than stellar. Trump received about 10 million more votes than in 2016. As for depressing the GOP favorability that was also a resounding failure, as his own party increased its support from 90% in 2016, to 94% this year.

Reed Galen, key strategist at The Lincoln Project, tried spinning the results in a classic, ”We meant to do that” fashion.

Sure Reed, we suppose that explains your inability to have changed any minds. What actually resulted from all of the media outreach and social impressions was The Lincoln Project was essentially only preaching to the converted, something Priorities USA noted.

According to their data director, “Our takeaway is that we as political operatives or people online on Twitter a lot, aren’t necessarily a good judge of what is persuasive.” So for all of the tens of millions of dollars TLP collected from Democrat donors the end result was that of a group of cheerleaders at a Friday night football game.

No one’s minds in the stands had been changed, but those who were already voting for Biden — including the members of the press — were simply encouraged to yell louder in support.

Money well spent, we suppose.


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