One of the biggest stories of the election has been the inability of TV ads to, apparently, do much to the horse race numbers.
But The Hill's Justin Sink writes that one of those spots might actually work.
A new study by Vanderbilt University found that an ad from Mitt Romney criticizing President Obama over a super-PAC attack that insinuated the presumptive Republican nominee was responsible for the death of a cancer patient is having a measurable effect on swing voters.
The study found that Romney's "America Deserves Better" commercial was resonating with swing voters, moving "pure independents" who remained undecided some 6 percentage points in the Republican's favor.
The researchers said this was the first ad of the campaign cycle they had studied that resonated with true swing voters.
What is new here is that the 'America Deserves Better' ad seems to score points for Romney," Ad Rating Project leader and Vanderbilt political science Professor John Geer told UPI.
"It was the first time among all the ads we have studied where a Romney attack moves down the president's numbers among pure independents," he continued.
So why aren't more ads working?
Well, TV spots might actually be influencing things, but because both sides (if you include Super PACs) are running so many, you might have a big cancel-out factor.
After all, the primary taught us that if one side dominates on TV ad spending (the Restore our Future side), it ends up winning. But by the time things are over, you're not going to have the massive disparity in the general election that you had in the primary.
So ads that don't seem to be working might, in fact, be working. It's just a tug-of-war that happens to be a draw.
Here's the spot, by the way.