Viral Lincoln Project Ads Did Little to Sway Voters, Study Shows

A billboard sponsored by The Lincoln Project above Times Square in New York, October 24, 2020 (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

Viral ads created by anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project were ineffective in persuading voters in battleground states, according to an analysis by the Democratic Party’s leading Super PAC first reported by The Daily Beast.

The PAC, Priorities USA, researched the effectiveness of 500 ads by different left-wing groups in an effort to save money for the next election cycle. In studies of five viral Lincoln Project ads, each played to a group of 683 people, the more an ad went viral, the less persuasive it was.

“The better the ad did on Twitter, the less it persuaded battleground state voters,” Priorities USA analytics director Nick Ahamed told The Daily Beast.

Lincoln Project co-founder Reed Galen commented that the results were to be expected and in line with the group’s strategy.

One set of the group’s ads consisted of “stuff we knew would distract them, make them angry, make them fight internally, make him fire Brad Parscale, sue us, whatever it was so their attention was pointed elsewhere,” Galen said. “A lot of the stuff we did in Electoral College states, a lot of times we didn’t even release it on Twitter.”

The Lincoln Project, which bills itself as an organization of anti-Trump conservatives, draws much of its support from Democratic donors including so-called “dark money” groups that aren’t required to disclose their donors. The group is reportedly planning to build up its media wing.

“We discovered in doing research that voters are getting lots of information from streaming and podcasts,” co-founder Rick Wilson told Axios in October. “We decided to build those things as advocacy vectors. We didn’t set out to become a media company, but we’ve inadvertently become a content creation machine.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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