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A man purchases fuel for the vehicle he drives to make a living using ride-share apps, on June 22, 2022, in the Queen, N.Y.John Minchillo / AP

Inflation and abortion were June's top campaign ad themes

Inflation, abortion and immigration and topped the list of campaign ad topics for three straight months.


Inflation and abortion remain top of mind for candidates across the country, according to the campaign ads they’re running on TV.

An NBC News analysis finds that 98 of 510 ads in Senate, House and gubernatorial races captured by the ad-tracking firm AdImpact, were related to inflation in June. Abortion was the second most-mentioned topic with 80 and immigration was talked about in 55 of those ads.  

The proportion of ads mentioning abortion and inflation are up from May, with 12% of May ads mentioning abortion and 15% of June ads mentioning the issue. Similarly, inflation as an ad theme saw a spike, with nine percent of ads in May mentioning inflation and 18% highlighting it in June.


Candidates on both sides of the aisle addressed the top issue of inflation and how they plan to tackle it.

For example, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham, a Democrat, defended herself from attacks in one ad, which touts her efforts to alleviate the burden of inflation in her state.

“The truth is, Michelle is battling inflation with middle class tax cuts,” the narrator says. 

“She knows the work isn’t done, but Michelle’s a governor on our side,” he adds later.

And in Nebraska, Republican state Sen. Mike Flood, who was elected this week to replace former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry in Congress in a special election, ran an ad promising to curb inflation.

“Skyrocketing gas prices, record inflation, savings crumbling, retirements at risk. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi created this mess. And if we don’t vote to stop them in the June 28th special election, things will only get worse,” a narrator in Flood’s ad says.


On abortion, both sides of the aisle ran ads on the issue ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

For example, in an ad run by Republican Blake Masters, a Senate candidate in Arizona, former President Donald Trump told viewers, “[Masters] ​​stands for life.” 

After last week’s Supreme Court decision, though, Democrats flooded the airwaves with commercials condemning the decision.

In Connecticut, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal told viewers, “I’m outraged.The Supreme Court has overturned Roe v Wade, but this fight isn’t over. Mitch McConnell wants Republicans to take control of the Senate and pass a national ban on abortion.”

In Washington, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray ran an ad condemning rival Republican candidate Tiffany Smiley for being, “100% pro-life.”


Immigration was the third most mentioned theme in June ads, but it was much more popular among Republicans than Democrats.

For example, Winning for Women Action Fund, an outside group who supported Navy veteran Jen Kiggans in her bid for the Republican nomination for Congress in Virginia’s 2nd District identified Kiggans in an ad as, “a conservative who will protect the border and wage war on Biden’s dangerous agenda.”


In previous months, President Joe Biden has emerged as the top “boogeyman” in political ads, meaning that candidates and outside groups seek to place blame on him for problems more often than anyone or anything else.

That stayed true in June, with 65 such ads. 

One example of such an ad comes out of Wisconsin, where businessman Tim Michels is running for the Republican nomination for governor.

“Biden killed hundreds of jobs, sent gas prices way up, making everything more expensive,” he said in one ad.

After Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and China remained the second and third top boogeymen, for the sixth month in a row.