Obama More than Doubling McCain and RNC on Ads
by Jonathan Singer, Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 07:54:13 AM EDT
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.