Analysis of past campaigns shows that when a candidate has a large advantage in TV advertising buys, it can make up to a 6% difference. The Mainstream Media’s story is that TV doesn’t matter much; what matters is polls that favor Obama. The MSM goal, after all, is to discourage Republicans from voting. (Now that Colorado has shifted to Romney, according to the September 17 Rasmussen poll, don’t expect that to be front page news in the Post.)
A huge television advantage helped Obama in 2008 and Romney in the 2012 primaries, however. Will either candidate have such an advantage this fall?
Cash for TV in 2012
Obama and Romney are both wagering on this one.
Obama’s campaign: We put our money down early to destroy Romney personally. Instead of a “teflon candidate” we want him to be the “velcro candidate” where every charge against him sticks. That’s why we spent so much money early. Ours is the Clinton strategy of 1996: he crucified Bob Dole, and Dole never gained traction. Romney will be the same.
Romney’s campaign: We saved our money for the final weeks of the campaign. Everybody already knows Obama is a failure; think economy and Obamacare. Since TV ads only “work” for a week, we are holding our cash until the final month. We want to have more than two ads to every one Obama ad. We are counting on a six percent shift our way when voters actually cast their ballots. That’s what experts say we can get … and Obama’s temporary boost around the conventions shows they know what they’re talking about.
How Much Cash Do the Sides Have?
Based on New York Times, Washington Post, NBC and Annenberg’s FactCheck.Org numbers, we can estimate that money raised by the campaigns and their supporters, including future revenues looks like this (millions):
Obama | Romney
Estimated Total Raised | $1,062 | $1,345
Already Spent | $503 | $395
For Fall Campaign | $559 | $950
Both sides actually will have less than this to spend. Campaign finance reports lag reality. This overstates fall cash by whatever was spent in August and some outside groups’ spending. Additionally, NBC has reported advertising dollars in a way that combines, it seems, both already spent ad dollars and dollars of ads reserved but not yet aired. Those numbers hint that both sides have reserved about $175 million in future ads.
KEY FACT: Obama has less cash for October than Romney.
Obama outspent Romney two to one on TV in August and his field operations are a great deal more costly – so his resources have already been diminished more than Romney’s. Going forward, ongoing field operations costs will eat even more into Obama’s TV spending.
Obama is unlikely to be able to run roughshod over his opponent as he did in 2008. Instead, he’ll probably be upside down in political ad spending.
Therefore, Romney should have a significant advantage. Should these estimates of future campaign contributions be “off,” Romney’s forces appear to have a more significant up-side than Obama’s efforts. So – if Romney’s TV wager is based on fact – they should surmount current polling difficulties.
- TOMORROW: FACTORS FOR OBAMA?