Elections: Effects of the Stand by Your Ad Provision on Attitudes About Candidates and Campaigns


  • AUTHORS’ NOTE: Authors are listed alphabetically. A grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation provided funding for the survey. We acknowledge Mike Dennis and Poom Nukulkij of Knowledge Networks for their work in collecting the data and Robert Shapiro for helpful advice on the research design.

Kristina Gale, Betsey Gimbel Hawkins, and Richard Hawkins were research associates at the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy (CSED) at Brigham Young University (BYU) during 2004 and 2005. David B. Magleby is the dean of the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, a distinguished professor of political science at BYU, and senior research fellow at CSED. J. Quin Monson is assistant professor of political science at BYU and assistant director of CSED. Kelly D. Patterson is associate professor of political science at BYU and director of CSED.


The “Stand by Your Ad” (SBYA) provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act requires federal candidates to claim responsibility for their advertising content. Using an experimental survey design to show respondents actual campaign ads with and without the SBYA language, we find that SBYA produces no effect on respondents’ levels of trust in candidates or the ads themselves. However, there is a statistically significant effect on respondents’ confidence in the campaign as well as on respondents’ support for the ad's sponsor. In ads sponsored by the presidential candidates, respondents’ reactions to the ads were further filtered through their predispositions toward the candidates.