Jay Cost calls this the biggest news of the day. It’s not just the raw numbers that are significant, it’s how Romney’s building his advantage: Obama’s campaign is dumping money into attack ads this summer trying to tear Mitt down before he can build himself up at the convention. Per Politico, The One’s endless fundraising efforts raised $49 million last month — while the campaign spent $59 million. Result: A national lead of less than three points bought at the price of a large, and growing, money advantage for the GOP in the fall.
I’ll quote a bit from the WaPo piece but you’re better off following the link and looking at the graph. The trend is as clear as a bell.
Mitt Romney extended his cash edge over President Obama in July and entered the final three-plus months of the campaign with about 50 percent more in the bank than the incumbent president.
Romney led Obama in cash on hand at the end of July $185.9 million to $123.7 million, according to numbers released by the Romney campaign and filed with the FEC by Obama’s campaign…
Reports filed Monday, though, show Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee continued to spend more than they brought in in July and saw their cash on hand fall by about $20 million combined.
In theory there’s going to come a “panic point” for Democratic donors where they start taking Romney seriously as a genuine threat to beat O, and that’s when the wallets will finally open. How far behind can they afford to fall, though, before they can’t realistically make up the difference? Remember, the numbers above don’t even include Super PAC money, where the GOP is heavily favored. I used to scoff at the thought that a guy who had his own money machine in 2008 could possibly be outspent this time, but … yeah, seems like that really could happen. If he wins a second term while being outgunned financially and staggering under the weight of the Obama economy, that’d be one of the most astounding electoral achievements in modern U.S. history.
Exit question: How much better would O’s fundraising be if he wasn’t, er, deliberately limiting the crowd size at his rallies?