Obama More than Doubling McCain and RNC on Ads

Chris Cillizza has the numbers, and they're shocking:

Reports obtained by The Fix detailing spending by the two campaigns as well as the Republican National Committee show that Obama dropped more than $32 million on television in 17 battleground states between Oct. 7 and Oct. 13 -- an increase of $12 million over what he spent between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6.

During that same time period, McCain spent approximately $10 million on ads in 14 states (the Arizona senator is not on television in Indiana, Michigan or Montana) while the RNC's independent expenditure effort disbursed $6 million more in eight states.

Jeanne Cummings, who has her own article on the disparities between the expenditures between the two campaigns for The Politico, passes on a choice quote from the top political ad-watcher in the country:

"Obama is spending $3.5 million a day on television ads," said Evan Tracey, CMAG's chief operating officer. "If he does that through Election Day, it will be more than McCain got from the government for his entire general election campaign."

So the Obama campaign is far outspending the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee -- combined -- on advertisements, by a 2-to-1 margin in fact. But this spread actually underestimates the difference in the number of ads. Why? As Marc Ambinder explains, not only do the independent expenditures by the party committees figuratively offer less bang for the buck -- they can't be coordinated with the campaign, and are thus less effective -- they literally do as well.

But comparing IE spending and campaign spending is like comparing fermions and bosons. IE committee don't get the preferred rate; campaigns do. So the Obama campaign, by consolidating spending, gets more bang for its buck.

Moving beyond the overall numbers, which show the Obama campaign running at least twice as many ads as the McCain campaign and RNC put together, the individual differences are just as remarkable. First Read reports this morning that while the Obama and the Republicans are at near parity in advertisements in smaller markets ("like a Green Bay or a Youngstown"), in larger markets the gap between the two is immense. Just how immense. In the Washington, DC market, which is key to hitting Northern Virginia (as well as parts of West Virginia, presumably), according to the Cummings article cited above, the Obama campaign ran 1,342 television spots during the first three weeks of September compared to the eight spots the McCain campaign ran on broadcast networks in the media market during the same period. No, not 800 spots, eight.

These numbers are shocking and haven't been seen in in at least a generation. They're also thanks to we, in no small part, the small dollar base of the Democratic Party. Keep it up.

Tags: Advertisements, Fundraising, White House 2008 (all tags)



Re: Obama More than Doubling McCain and RNC on Ads

wow this is what the GOP doesn't understand.

the power of the bottom up approach.
They don't motivate their base, the GOP hates entitlements, so they are basically a "we will leave you to fend for yourself", not the best way to reach the average person. and now they see the power of connecting.

I wonder how many years it will take the GOP to create a powerful grassroots movement. (probably just have to wait for the next culture war I guess)

by TruthMatters 2008-10-15 08:07AM | 0 recs

I am sure "most" are small donors.. but where is most of the money coming from?

I am going to vote for Obama.

But I strongly feel that our campaign financing system is at this point almost totally dysfunctional and that it ends up working to prevent important issues and candidates from ever making it into the political dialogue.

That- is destroying democracy.

by architek 2008-10-15 09:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama More than Doubling McCain

The "small donor base" is a myth. Not that they don't exist, but they're not a big part of the Obama fundraising totals. Obama relies just as much if not more on major (over $500) donors than any other Democratic candidate in recent memory, and less than George W. Bush.

Obama's incredible fundraising machine is thanks to his huge -- and passionately involved -- corps of large donor bundlers. Again, just like W. Sorry, the "little guys" don't add up to the big guys, never will, but that's OK.

Imagining Obama as some sort of populist, anti-elitist, "little guy" president is just going to produce a big wave of disillusionment in about a year. We can't afford that.

by ColoradoGuy 2008-10-15 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama More than Doubling McCain

Let's put it this way - I started off as a "small donor," but as the months wore on I became a "major donor," under your definition, because of the stakes in this campaign and the massive field operation that Obama had assembled.  I'm sure that many people acted the same way.

by rfahey22 2008-10-15 08:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama More than Doubling McCain

Yup.  Started with a $15 donation.  I'll bet I'm over a grand now.  I know I am for Franken for sure...probably Walz too.

by lojasmo 2008-10-15 09:01AM | 0 recs
What about the companies..

that basically gave the legal limit on behalf of hundreds (or even thousands?) of employees..

Are they the "bundlers"?

Is there any place where the employers of donors and amounts of donations can also be graphed vs. TIME?

by architek 2008-10-15 09:40AM | 0 recs
Any evidence McCain is on an intentional lull?

And that McCain and the RNC are just saving up for a final week/two week "surge" in a belief/hope that Obama's recent gains are soft?

by LSdemocrat1 2008-10-15 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Any evidence McCain is on an intentional lull?

Big mistake if true.  People are voting right now.

by Drummond 2008-10-15 09:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama More than Doubling McCain and RNC on Ads

Just adding my lobby for Obama to put some money into Georgia and West Virginia if he can afford it.  Maybe even a visit to each.

by Drummond 2008-10-15 09:12AM | 0 recs


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