Political Campaigns in Southern Arizona: Addressing Healthcare Policies

The governance focus area in Southern Arizona and the state of Arizona is dedicated to addressing governance issues at both the local and state levels. The objectives of this focus area include efforts to rectify structural deficiencies in governance, as well as to support and prepare new leaders for elected office. The ultimate goal is to guarantee efficient and effective governance for the region. In today's world, social networks and other channels of communication between politicians and the public are on the rise.

Nevertheless, advertising, particularly television advertising, still constitutes the bulk of campaign budgets and attention. This is due to television advertising's capacity to reach potential voters who would not otherwise seek political information. Table 4 presents the same political areas broken down by political party only for federal elections and for the governor; this chart does not break down the data by election cycle because the differences by political party are clearer when examined across all cycles. On average, just over a quarter (26%) of advertising campaigns in both cycles paid attention to narrowly defined public health issues.

Campaign advertising is the main way that candidates for political office, interest groups, and advocacy organizations communicate their vision of government to the public. While issues such as education, income inequality, and racism are relevant to the health of the population, campaign advertisements rarely explicitly identify any connection between those issues and public health. Understanding advertising as part of the political discourse on issues of interest to public health allows us to better understand the definition of the political agenda and can serve as a basis for efforts to shape public opinion. We obtained a dataset of all English-language television advertising and national cable campaigns that referred to candidates for office at all levels of government in all media markets in the United States.

There was substantial variation in the content related to public health in advertisements throughout the election cycles, by level of political office, political party, and geographical area. In both election cycles, campaign ads that discussed narrowly defined public health issues were more likely to be broadcast in congressional elections (the U. S. House of Representatives and Senate) than in presidential, state, or local elections.