John G. Geer is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. Geer has published five books and more than 25 articles on presidential politics and elections, and is now editor of The Journal of Politics. His most recent book is Gateways to Democracy. In 2006, he published In Defense of Negativity: Attacks Ads in Presidential Campaigns, which won Harvard University’s Goldsmith Prize. He has also published From Tea Leaves to Opinion Polls and Nominating Presidents. Geer’s articles have focused on such topics as turnout, public opinion, partisanship, and representation.

Prime Time

They spent a total of $1 billion on TV ads, but most were instantly forgettable—and none swayed opinion. Next time, writes John G. Geer, make the ads memorable.