How voters view Donald Trump’s political advertisement, “Break In”

Linley SandersData Journalist
August 04, 2020, 7:40 PM UTC

President Donald Trump’s campaign team is coming off a six-day pause on political advertisements in order to reevaluate its campaign strategy. The incumbent’s re-election team has spent $72 million in television advertising without denting Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s steady lead in the polls

A YouGov snap poll of 1,000 registered voters indicates that recent television spots attacking Biden do not increase registered voters’ opinion of Trump — though they do slightly drag down Democrats’ and Independents’ positive opinion of Biden.  

A recent 30-second advertisement called “Break In” shows a woman watching a television segment about reduced funding for police departments and a proposal for removing emergency 911 operators. As someone breaks into the home, she calls 911 only to get the message, “I’m sorry that there’s no one here to answer your emergency call. Leave a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.” 

The Washington Post labeled the ad as misleading because it takes a Biden sound bite on police reform out of context. Biden does not support outright defunding the police. 

Two-thirds of registered voters (67%) classified the advertisement’s tone as negative, and about half believe it is dishonest (51%) and uninspiring (49%). A plurality of Republicans (43%) also believe the “Break In” advertisement was negative, but about three-quarters (73%) of Republicans consider the message to be honest, and nine in 10 (90%) believe it is effective. All panelists were asked to put aside their political affiliation while evaluating the tone of the clip. 

The YouGov snap poll asked registered voters to share their opinion of Biden and Trump before watching the advertisement and after it. After viewing “Break In,” positive opinion of Trump did not shift significantly among registered voters (40% before; 40% after), Independents (36% before; 37% after), Democrats (6% before; 5% after), or Republicans (87% before; 88% after). Negative opinions also remained stable among each group. 

The advertisement slightly chipped away at Democrats’ and Independents’ positive opinion of Biden. After viewing “Break In,” positive opinion of Biden dropped among registered voters (49% before; 45% after), Independents (46% before; 40% after), and Democrats (86% before; 78% after).  

Even after watching the “Break In” advertisement, however, registered voters and Independents maintain a slightly more positive view of Biden than Trump. 

Learn more about YouGov Direct and find YouGov Direct on the App Store and on Google Play.  

Related: What registered voters think of Donald Trump's political ad, “The Best Is Yet to Come” 

Methodology: This article is based on a flash poll of 1,000 registered voters surveyed via YouGov Direct on July 30, 2020 between 11:15 a.m. and 12:27 p.m. This YouGov Direct Poll was weighted according to age, gender, race, education, and 2016 presidential vote. The margin of error is ±4.2%     

Image: Getty