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A customer shops at a supermarket
A customer shops at a supermarket in Millbrae, Calif. on Aug. 10, 2022.Li Jianguo / Xinhua via Getty Images file

Inflation, abortion top campaign ad themes for fourth month

Candidates on both sides of the aisle are presenting their plans to tackle inflation to voters over the airwaves.


Inflation was once again was the most frequently cited issue in campaign ads in August, with 192 unique ads last month mentioning high prices, according to an NBC News analysis of ads tracked through AdImpact.

Ads focusing on inflation were presented by candidates and groups on both sides of the aisle. Some, like this ad from Jen Kiggans, the Republican nominee for Congress in Virginia's Second District, touted a candidate's plan to lower prices.

Others, like this spot funded by One Nation, a super PAC aligned with Senate Republican leadership, blamed Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, for voting in favor of legislation that they say spiked inflation. 

Behind inflation, abortion came in as the second most frequently mentioned issue in campaign ads for House, Senate and governor in August. 135 ads mentioned abortion.

Many of these ads on the Democratic side featured deeply personal stories from women about their own experiences with abortion, or featured women speaking about the risk of abortion bans in their state.

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor in Georgia, ran an ad that included multiple women telling viewers about the repercussions of the abortion law Gov. Brian Kemp, R-Georgia, signed into law.

"Brian Kemp made abortion a crime before many women even know they’re pregnant, and he supports a total ban," the women in the ad say.

Republicans, on the other hand, fought back against these kinds of ads from Democrats. Tiffany Smiley, the Republican nominee for Senate in Washington, made a direct-to-camera appeal to voters, telling them that she would not be in favor of a federal abortion ban.

"[Democratic Sen.] Patty Murray has spent millions to paint me as an extremist. I’m pro life, but I oppose a federal abortion ban," Smiley says in the ad.

Other topics that were common in August ads included guns, a topic that was mentioned in 62 ads, and China, a topic that was mentioned in 32 ads last month.