DO POLITICAL CONSULTANTS MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?—A CONTROLLED EXPERIMENT. With all the uncertainty about measuring the effectiveness of political political campaigns, I was surprised to see that there has been a randomized controlled experiment. Molly Ball reports that: “In 2006, Rick Perry’s Texas gubernatorial campaign gave researchers the chance to conduct a randomized, controlled experiment in real time. The campaign worked with political scientists to target certain parts of the state with ads while leaving other parts ad-free; the researchers then measured the difference in voter sentiment.”
They found that the commercials boosted Perry’s standing by about five points—and that the bump disappeared less than a week after the ads stopped airing.