The last-minute battle of the ad-bulge

posted at 10:01 am on October 26, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

It’s a strange and tricky business, these campaign-ad wars, and not merely because of the content of the advertising (in a desperate bid to cling to the diminishing gender gap, for instance, many of Team Obama’s ads are doing their darndest to convince the ladies that the singular most crucial issue of this election is, in fact, “women’s health” a.k.a. abortion and that conservatives want to “limit access” to contraception, or something).

Word on the street is that Team Romney has been holding back somewhat on their advertising buys and waiting for the opportune moment to unleash a deluge onto the airwaves, particularly in swing-states — a contrast from the Obama campaign’s modus operandi of buying and airing ads steadily all along. Seems like a risky strategy at its face, but the way things have played out, I’m wondering if it will turn out to be the masterstroke.

The debates revealed to America a capable, collected, and kind Mitt Romney that looked nothing like the Mitt Romney they’d been directed to hate and fear by the barrage of negative ads from Team O, and now, all of the momentum and optimism is on Mitt Romney’s side. If people aren’t already too weary of political ads, building on their new awareness of and receptiveness to the Republican candidate at this crucial juncture could be the key to bringing this thing home. Politico reports:

Romney and the Republican National Committee came into October sitting on $146 million, more than the $100 million Obama and the Democratic National Committee had. And as of Oct. 17, with three weeks to go, Romney and the RNC still had about $120 million in the bank.

… They say this was the Republican strategy all along: to wait as close to Election Day as possible to hit the airwaves in swing media markets with a barrage of Romney ads — a stark contrast to the Obama campaign’s strategy, which has been to spend heavily on advertising consistently, making many of the buys in advance when it could negotiate a better price and airtime. …

Another point for comforting Romney supporters is early voting trends. It was no doubt a key factor for Obama’s campaign in spending heavily on advertising in early October, but it wasn’t for the GOP because Democrats are more likely to vote early than Republicans.

The National Journal has more on the opening floodgates:

This week alone, Republican groups are combining to spend $59 million across 13 states. Obama and two other Democratic groups are spending a comparatively paltry $36 million across 10 states. Collectively, the Republican side has spent $115 million more than the Democratic side — $539 million versus $424 million, according to sources watching the advertising market.

Romney and his Republican allies are outspending Obama in every battleground state, the data show. In some states, the disparity is only minor; the GOP is spending just over $600,000 more in New Hampshire than Obama’s side. In other states, the Republican advantage runs into the seven figures — Republicans are outspending Democrats by more than $5 million in Florida, $4 million in Ohio, $3.3 million in Wisconsin, and $2 million each in Iowa and Virginia. …

All told, the two sides have spent almost $200 million on advertising in Ohio and Florida, and another $152 million on the Virginia airwaves. The breakneck pace of spending has only increased — this week, the two sides are spending a combined $17.8 million in Florida, $15.4 million in Virginia, and an incredible $21 million in Ohio.

The Obama campaign has been steadily advertising and purchasing their spots in advance, investing a lot of money and effort into constructing a particular image of Mitt Romney — that was all but shattered in practically a single debate. I detect the hint of the successful businessman in Team R’s strategy: If you’re willing to wait it out and maybe pay a little more, you can measure conditions closer to the main event, and now they have the resources on hand to potentially close this deal. We’ll see if it pays off.


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Gumby’s prognostications are like trying to say the center fielder in a baseball game will miss the catch before the ball is even pitched.

Liam on October 26, 2012 at 11:28 AM

I’m following Hawk’s lead on this.. I’m simply going to ignore him.. he’s not stealing anymore threads.. two lines are enough for him. Just to say… uh huh…

as if he’s ever been right,.. on anything.

mark81150 on October 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM

That same year, my daughter was in the 4th grade, and her flamboutyantly gay teacher, (purple pants, flowered shirts)..

mark81150 on October 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Oh, God, that’s so funny! In 1971, I had a male teacher who dressed like that. He even wore purple shoes! And he wasn’t gay (far as I know).

Liam on October 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM

I love a good teacher.. but guys like him, are unfit to clean monkey cages..

mark81150 on October 26, 2012 at 11:29 AM

So you’d unload a guy like that on their profession? Why do you hate monkey cage cleaners?

hawkdriver on October 26, 2012 at 11:36 AM

I’m not a he.

Here’s the spreadsheet:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AvEOdIaw0fPNdHVOZnFENDdDYVFTRi1UMlgxQ0F4OVE#gid=0

Please don’t rely on my numbers. Do you own math everyday. I’m sure that you don’t need me to save you the time.

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Nice spreadsheet. Shame they wouldn’t cough up the 2008 data for Butler, Warren or Clermont counties, would’ve been very interesting, I think.

Norky on October 26, 2012 at 11:38 AM

I’m following Hawk’s lead on this.. I’m simply going to ignore him.. he’s not stealing anymore threads.. two lines are enough for him. Just to say… uh huh…

as if he’s ever been right,.. on anything.

mark81150 on October 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM

He’s just an annoyance, pretty much a fetishist for his precious polls. He holds tight to what is basically nothing, being a pest.

I rarely address liberals directly, and Hawk’s view is the right course in this instance. I can handle an ‘honest’ liberal who will say to me, “I believe in X because…” and give me a solid reason for holding that particular view. Then we can maybe have a discussion.

Gumby, on the other hand, is going to be a mess Nov. 7 no matter who wins.

Liam on October 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Oh man, incredible news from Gallup. They published their guesstimate of the electorate demographic today (via Ace) and it’s great: Gallup projects (including leaners) a 49% GOP versus 46% Evil Demorat Socialist Fascists on election day. That’s just a little bit better than 2008, when President One Term was able to GOTV in a big way and we saw 54% Democrat versus 42% Republican.

With a demo like that we can accomplish a lot! Now we just need to make it real.

MTF on October 26, 2012 at 11:42 AM

10.10.12

Number of Registered Voters in Ohio is Down ~400,000 From 2008

Right now, there are about 7.9 million registered voters in Ohio. That compares to 8.3 million who were registered four years ago, the last presidential election year.

http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/political/number-of-registered-voters-statewide-is-down-from-four-years-ago

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 11:42 AM

So you’d unload a guy like that on their profession? Why do you hate monkey cage cleaners?

hawkdriver on October 26, 2012 at 11:36 AM

cause I’m a meany mean ol conservative…

:P

mark81150 on October 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM

10.10.12

Number of Registered Voters in Ohio is Down ~400,000 From 2008

Right now, there are about 7.9 million registered voters in Ohio. That compares to 8.3 million who were registered four years ago, the last presidential election year.

http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/political/number-of-registered-voters-statewide-is-down-from-four-years-ago

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Well a couple of months ago there was a story about how Ohio purged over 400,000 names from the voter rolls because of them moving out of state or no longer being alive. I moved out of Ohio in 2009, I’m now in Missouri.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Gumb – now you are disecting them too – welcome to the club. Funny thing though, i find that all the polling seems to have either a huge Dem + split that is nowhere close to reality – even Ras is still on the edge there, with Romney huge on Independents, or they have a more realistic split – and I would agree that R+3 in Wisconsin seems to far to the right, with Obama winning Independents. I am sure someone could find me the poll that doesn’t fit this narrative but that is the way it seems to be.

A couple of things to say – Obama isn’t going to win Independents. A D+5 in Wisconsin or any other swing state (not to mention higher D splits) also isn’t going to happen.

The walls around the Obama fortress continue to crumble. Now he is getting to in a figurative sense the problem of trapped desparate people wishing for help and none is coming. Seems kind of fitting, don’t you think?

Zomcon JEM on October 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM

The walls around the Obama fortress continue to crumble. Now he is getting to in a figurative sense the problem of trapped desparate people wishing for help and none is coming. Seems kind of fitting, don’t you think?

Zomcon JEM on October 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Heck, just the fact that the media and Obama are clinging to a single state like Ohio is proof enough that it’s over. It was supposed to be inevitable that he would win (although I never thought so), this was the media meme no matter how far outside of reality it actually was, but now they have been forced to hanging on as tight as they possibly can to a single state. That’s not the sign of a winning campaign.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 26, 2012 at 11:53 AM

15.6% of the total votes cast for Obama in 2008 came from Cuyahoga County. Cuyahoga County has 208,207 fewer total registered voters in 2012 compared to 2008. The county has lost 48,872 Democrat-registered voters and 194,199 independent-registered voters. There has been a surprising gain of 34,864 Republican voters in Cuyahoga since the 2008 election.

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 11:54 AM

They better save some of that dough for the possible nightmare.

KS Rex on October 26, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Gumb – now you are disecting them too….

Zomcon JEM on October 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Oh, he only dissects them looking for data to cherrypick. Yesterday, he came here screaming about the WaPo poll: “Only 73% of Conservatives support Romney!!!”

What he neglected to say was that the poll showed that Romney was doing better with Conservatives, Moderates and Liberals than McCain did and Obama is doing worse with Conservatives, Moderates and Liberals than he did 4 years ago.

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 12:08 PM

IBD/Tipp (D+7):

Obama: 47 (-1)

Romney: 46

O +1

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM

IBD/Tipp (D+7):

Obama: 47 (-1)

Romney: 46

O +1

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM

That’s not good… for Obama.

MobileVideoEngineer on October 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Josh Mandel will be Senator Mandel if his internal numbers prove out on election day. Here’s their view, as of today:

“Poll #1: Ohio Votes/NBC Channel 4 (Columbus) Poll: Brown 43, Mandel 42

Poll #2: Mandel’s internal poll by Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies has him up 1 over Sherrod Brown, 45-44%.

Mandel holds a 9 point lead among Independents, 45-36%.”

These numbers are based upon a D+5 sample. If Gallup is correct about the national demo, and if Ohio bears any sort of resemblance to that demo, we could be seeing a substantially better result for Mandel and, by extension, for Romney.

MTF on October 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM

The thing about Romney buying ads in Minn and Pa etc….and the same thing with Bush in Ca. is that it projects a campaign that believes it is winning as opposed to a campaign that keeps getting smaller and smaller.

Animal60 on October 26, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Poll #1: Ohio Votes/NBC Channel 4 (Columbus) Poll: Brown 43, Mandel 42
MTF on October 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Whoa, that caught me off guard. Brown has been pummeling Mandel with negative ads and I have yet to see an ad from Mandel. I assumed he was a goner.

Norky on October 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Republicans Leading In Early Voting In Colorado

DENVER — Election Day is still more than a week away according to the calendar, but nearly 10 percent of Colorado voters have already cast their ballots, and the Republicans are leading.

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office reports 325,810 residents have already cast ballots. With about 3.6 million people registered in Colorado, that means more than 8.9 percent of the state’s electorate has voted with 13 days to go before polls even open. The state’s mail-in ballots went out Oct. 15, and in-person early voting began Monday.

Republicans are outstripping Democrats in early voting with 126,539 ballots cast compared to 120,965 from Democrats, according to Gessler’s office.

http://watchdog.org/60346/co-early-voting-shows-gop-in-lead/

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I can attest to the battle of the ads in Ohio! While getting ready for work this morning I heard back to back Romney ads. One batch of ads. lasted 3-4 minutes! They are really hitting the airwaves heavily :)

wolverinefan on October 26, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Gallup Today:

R: 51% (+1)

O: 46% (-1)

R +5

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Whoa, that caught me off guard. Brown has been pummeling Mandel with negative ads and I have yet to see an ad from Mandel. I assumed he was a goner.

Norky on October 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I’ve seen lots ads for Mandel, mostly during football or baseball games but then that’s all I watch on broadcast TV. Last night I actually saw a Mandel commercial on cable TV, highlighted how Obama’s anti-business and anti-oil policies are hurting small businesses in Youngstown. Youngstown has been somewhat reborn doing oil related manufacturing so it’s a double whammy for businesses there.

As for Brown he used to have that ridiculous “auto bailout saved 800,000 jobs in Ohio” ad (really? without the auto bailout 1 in 7 jobs would have been lost?) that ran constantly. I rarely see his ads anymore though. Same with Obama but they may have figured out sports watchers aren’t their best source of votes and moved to comedy central, BET, MTV, lifetime, bravo and so forth.

jarodea on October 26, 2012 at 1:10 PM

I can attest to the battle of the ads in Ohio! While getting ready for work this morning I heard back to back Romney ads. One batch of ads. lasted 3-4 minutes! They are really hitting the airwaves heavily :)

wolverinefan on October 26, 2012 at 12:57 PM

I’ve seen that as well, during last weeks football games there were several commercial breaks that went Romney ad, Mandel ad (or Renacci ad, the rep around here), general republican anti-Obama ad, Romney ad. Every commercial break had at least 1 of those ads as well.

jarodea on October 26, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Gallup Demographics of Likely Voters

Men/Women:

2004: 46/54
2008: 47/53
2012: 48/52

Men: Change from 8 to 12: +1
Women: -1

Non-Hispanic White 2004/2008/2012: 82/78/78 (no change)

Non-white: 15/19/20 (+1)

Black: 8/12/11 (-1)

Hispanic: 6/6/7 (+1)

18-29 years: 13/14/13 (-1)

30-49: 38/35/34 (-1)

50-64: 26/30/31 (+1)

65+: 24/21/22 (+1)

East: 23/22/23 (+1)

Midwest: 23/22/23 (+1)

South: 33/33/33 (no change)

West: 22/23/22 (-1)

HS or less: 32/33/31 (-2)

Some college: 33/30/31 (+1)

Coll. Grad: 15/20/20 (no change)

Postgrad: 20/16/17 (+1)

Democrat: 37/39/35 (-4)

Independent: 24/31/29 (-2)

Republican: 39/29/36 (+7)

Democrat/Lean Democrat: 48/54/46 (-8)

Republican/Lean Republican: 48/42/49 (+7)

Resist We Much on October 26, 2012 at 1:25 PM

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