U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey has released the first TV ad in his re-election campaign. The 30-second ad, which focuses on efforts to help the middle class, will air on cable television statewide.

Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, says political ads on TV can be more effective than the Internet.

"People who may not have made up their mind because they're kind of not even thinking about this are not likely to be going to the sites of candidates, and I'm not sure that when they're trolling through YouTube they're going to be looking at a political commercial," Thompson said. "They're going to be more likely looking at the latest cat who can play a piano or flush a toilet."

He says putting political ads on TV still makes sense in the digital age.

"It may be old school, but it's still probably the most effective way to get your message out," Thompson said. "Thirty-second spots on regular television, whether it's network or cable, still get seen by an awful lot of people."

The polls show Menendez with a double-digit lead over Republican challenger, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos of Monmouth.