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Super PACs Have Not Translated Into TV AD Advantage for Romney

(image: *USB* / flickr)

Early in the election it was thought Mitt Romney would have an advertising advantage. Not only was Romney raising more money than Obama in the beginning, but also there are significantly more well funded Republican leaning Super PAC’s. This expected advantage, though, has not materialized. In the big swing states the Obama team is actually winning the ad wars. From Huffington Post:

A review of political ad contracts with broadcast television stations in the top five media markets in Florida — Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach — and the top three markets in Ohio — Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus — show Obama’s campaign running 10,000 more ads than Romney’s campaign from the beginning of August through the middle of September. (We counted ad contracts that started any time between Aug. 1 and Sept. 19, 2012.)

In the biggest metropolitan regions in Ohio, the ad battle on broadcast TV has been a rout. Obama ran 13,556 ads, more than double the 5,971 for Romney. In August, Obama’s ads outpaced Romney’s 6,473 to 3,281. In the two and a half weeks surveyed in September, the president’s advantage increased, with 7,083 ads to Romney’s 2,690.

You have a few factors at play here. First, starting in August the Obama team began beating the Romney team in monthly fundraising. Importantly, much of money raised for the Obama re-election effort has been raised for the campaign itself, as opposed to the party or for outside groups. Only the actual campaign gets preferential treatment in buying ads. This means money spent by the actual campaign get more bang for the buck.

It will be interesting to see if Republican-leaning outside groups start doing triage by directing more money to down ballot races instead of the Presidential contest. With Romney’s poor polling numbers, that may start seeming like the better investment.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at