Republican presidential candidates have flooded this state with commercials in all the usual places: local newscasts in the morning, talk shows during the day, “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” at dinner time.
But what are political ads doing on HGTV and the Food Network?
Campaigns and “super PACs” can single out potential voters with a high degree of specificity thanks to reams of research about the political affiliations, voting habits and even charitable donations of television viewers. And here in the Tampa Bay area, which is home to a quarter of the state’s Republicans, the presence of political ads on some surprising shows and channels reveals the level of precision that political strategists are employing as they seek an edge in this intensely competitive primary.
Certainly, highly rated crime dramas like “NCIS” and “Person of Interest” are popular choices for advertising, as they have been among Republican candidates in previous elections. So are NFL games. Fox News is still the cable network of choice, so much so that local cable providers cannot make room for all the political campaign orders they receive.