WASHINGTON - Four years after then-presidential candidate John McCain famously told a crowd in Youngstown that manufacturing jobs "weren't coming back," manufacturing issues emerged as a key political issue in the 2012 elections, according to a new analysis of campaign ads.
WASHINGTON — Four years after then-presidential candidate John McCain famously told a crowd in Youngstown that manufacturing jobs “weren’t coming back,” manufacturing issues emerged as a key political issue in the 2012 elections, according to a new analysis of campaign ads.
The study by Kantar Media’s Campaign Analysis Group found that trade issues relating to China alone accounted for $45?million in the presidential race, and $3.6 million in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race. Trade issues overall accounted for $68?million in the presidential race and $3.7?million in Ohio’s Senate race.
What’s different this year, said Scott Paul, director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, is that both Republicans and Democrats leapt on the China issue, with Republican nominee Mitt Romney promising to call China a currency manipulator if he were elected.
Among Democrats, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio has long focused on issues of trade with China, and last year spearheaded Senate passage of a bill aimed at cracking down on Chinese currency manipulation, which Brown says unfairly hurts U.S. manufacturing.
President Barack Obama has been hesitant to call China a currency manipulator, and Paul said he thinks that “you will see more nipping at the president’s heels from Republicans” on the issue during his next term. Paul’s organization, which includes manufacturers and United Steelworkers, commissioned the study.
The analysis found that Columbus TV viewers watched 24,850 ads — worth more than $19?million — on jobs issues alone during the presidential race. Columbus viewers also saw 3,499 ads focused on trade issues worth more than $2.6?million in the race for the White House.
The analysis found that ads focused on jobs and trade issues were far more prolific in 2012 than 2008: Mentions of jobs almost tripled in TV ad occurrences during that time, going from 286,000 to 791,000, with mentions of trade more than doubling — going from 35,000 to 83,000 airings.