Denver-area TV buys have shifted in Romney’s favor.

CU journalism students (CU News Corp), guided by CU-Boulder journalism instructor Sandra Fish and Laura Frank, executive director of the I-News Network, have been examining ad contracts for the four Denver TV stations to see who’s buying political ads. I added Obama-side and Romney-side spending to see who was leading in the spending wars.

Sandra Fish clarified that CU News Corp reports spending dates by when the station has a contract, even though the actual ad may air at a later date. 

This spending shift validates my prediction that Obama’s TV dominance was not durable.  See my ColoradoPeakPolitics post.

What this means is that Romney should begin to move up in the polls here in Colorado. The shift will not be as stark as the 61% for Obama to 70% for Romney in ad purchases, due to pre-buys, but eventually the fact that Obama had spent much of his campaign cash before Labor Day (and voters don’t recall those ads) should mean Romney has the advantage as Election Day nears.

TV buys do influence polls. See the report, including summary, here. Dominating the television air waves appears to shift the polls 6% to the side that’s dominating. And TV ads lose their influence with voters within two weeks.

RealClearPolitics currently reports an Obama polling advantage in Colorado of 3.1%. Shift RCP’s average 6%, and Romney would be ahead by about the margin that RCP shows Obama now leading.

Just how likely such a shift may be is a matter of conjecture. But consider this:

  • The Public Policy Polling (firm leans Democrat according to Nate Silver) Colorado survey started 9/20 gave Obama a 6% advantage. 
  • The We Ask America (leans Republican per Silver) Colorado survey started just five days later gave Obama just a 3% advantage.

It is entirely possible that Obama losing his TV buy advantage is what prompted his decline in the polls.

One caveat:  My own TV viewing suggests that Obama is goosing his buys before major events (the convention and first debate) so that MSM can claim he’s the winner of these pivotal events.  If so, Romney may not surge until some days after the Denver debate.

NOTE: I include Priorities USA, AFSCME, SEIU and the DNC as Obama backers. I include American Crossroads (plus GPS), Americans for Prosperity, Restore Our Future, Americans for Job Security and the RNC as Romney backers.