Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

The Dumb Money

Over the years, both as an observer of politics and as a publisher, I've seen numerous cases where a big advocacy campaign comes together which clearly lacks the ability to spend all the money it's raised. You'll see adds run in California against a politician from New York. Or you'll see TV spots running in time slots or on shows that are totally unrelated to the target demographic. Most campaigns - whether they're advocacy, election campaigns or branding - are never lucky enough to have this problem. But the amount of messaging or advertising you can do or buy on any given topic is finite. You can so saturate a given market or audience that you not only move past a point of diminishing returns but actually run out of things to buy. That was clearly the case in what has turned out to be the colossal failure of the many tens of million dollar campaign to stop the Iran nuclear deal.

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Do You Understand This?

With our new Insight polls we're looking at policy beliefs, attitudes, election support, and other issues for center-left and liberal opinion leaders, as they're called. But we've also been looking at attitudes toward the big corporations that dominate different aspects of public life in the U.S. One example is attitudes toward the big tech giants. We recently looked at three tech behemoths (Microsoft, Facebook and Google) with the question of whether you think the given company's best days are ahead of it or behind it - a general question that gets at attitude perceptions about the future, trust, relevance, and so forth. The results were eye-popping.

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A Remembrance

My thanks to TPMCafe contributor Jonathan Earle for this moving reflection on his former student Ethan Schmidt, a professor of history at Delta State University in Mississippi, who was murdered today in his office.