Consider states where both sides appear to have reserved most of their October television buys. In Alaska, Democrats have spent $6.4 million, Republicans $3.6 million. In Arkansas, Democrats have spent $6.2 million for TV ads, Republicans $4.6 million. In Colorado, it’s $8.5 million for Democratic ads, $7 million for Republicans. In Iowa it’s $8.5 million for Democrats, $5.6 million for GOP spots. In Louisiana, it’s $5.7 million for Democrats, $5.6 million for Republicans. North Carolinians will see more than twice as many Democratic ads as Republican spots—$17.6 million to $7.8 million.
Republicans do not need to outspend Democrats to prevail. After all, the Democrats’ summer ad blitz, in which they spent $58 million to the GOP’s $54.4 million, dented some Republican candidates but failed to convince people to vote for Democrats, especially beleaguered incumbents. They’re stuck where they were at the summer’s start, and whatever damage Republican campaigns suffered can be repaired, given adequate money. But Republicans must reach a certain sufficiency of advertising in the next six weeks.
There is also evidence there are limits to the efficacy of the Democrats’ “war on women” narrative. Recent American Crossroads focus groups among swing women voters found they resent being treated as single-issue abortion voters, considering it condescending. They want candidates from both parties to talk about broader concerns like jobs, the economy, health care, energy, government spending and national security, and they are more than open to the GOP message.