Sunday, October 31, 2004

Direct mail still potent for candidates



By Siobhan McDonough
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - If you haven't heard the candidates' pitches on television or radio, look right under your nose.

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Direct mail is piling up higher and higher - or at least filling recycling bins - as Election Day approaches, with literature professing the steady leadership of one candidate and bashing the other for countless weaknesses.

Even in the age of the Internet, campaigns find it pays to go postal.

And the snazzier and more creative, the better, said David Magleby, Brigham Young University political scientist.

"I think mail is quite effective and the reason is it tends to linger," Magleby said. "It often sits around and you see it more than once or twice and if it's well done ... it can make a difference."

Direct mail is the second-biggest expense in political advertising behind television, said William Benoit, communications professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia. About $1.5 billion is expected to be spent on broadcast television advertising this year and about $560 million on direct mail, he said.

"Nothing else - radio, cable, newspapers - comes close to being in second place," Benoit said.

Voters in the battleground states are getting swamped.

In one of the hardest-hitting mailings, the Republican National Committee sent fliers featuring a picture of actress Jane Fonda and filmmaker Michael Moore and the headline, "John Kerry's heart and soul of America?"

The Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee blasted President Bush in a mailing that showed burning roadside wreckage in Iraq, with U.S. soldiers looking on, and the headline "Wrong Choices ... Less Secure."




ELECTION 2004
Election paranoia running rampant
Final push: Get voters excited
A survival guide to voting in Ohio (PDF file, 12k)
Rallies, caravans, calls: Voting day must be near
Bin Laden tape fodder in presidential contest
Electoral College 'tied,' too
Contract officer warned against Halliburton deal
Cheney to woo Aloha State
Gore gets lei before VP does
On the streets, door to door, citizens rally for school issues
Direct mail still potent for candidates
Remember my name!
Campaign notebook
Voters anxious for election
Some candidates endorse Ky. importing drugs from Canada
Getting out all the votes
Lakeside Park candidates oppose possibility of merger
Parties seek gains Tuesday in Ky.'s divided legislature
Amendment won't be last word, foes say
Voters turn to Bible for ballot guidance
Senate campaign comes down to barbs over Ten Commandments
Election 2004 section

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