Obama Outspent Romney by 3-to-1 Over the Summer and Can’t Pull Away — Must Read

That headlines is the conventional wisdom in the mainstream media, right? It’s not.  Every poll, even biased polls, says the race is no worse than even for Mitt Romney despite the unprecedented avalanche of negative ads from President Obama, the compliant water-carriers in the media, and a spending advantage like no one had ever seen before.  Yet the the write-ups in every poll release talks about the “trouble for Romney” underneath the headlines and Obama’s resilient likeability still buoying his campaign prospects.

Well, a lot of that is about to change.  We won’t ever get the media on our side, let alone be objective, but we can unleash ad campaigns the likes of which no general election has ever seen before and it appears the Romney campaign is just about ready to do that. The Boston Globe takes a long look at the inner workings of the Romney campaign’s finances and find a frugal, thrifty and focused campaign — much like what we should expect from a Romney White House —  ready to flip Obama’s spending advantage on its head:

Mitt Romney is heading into the final three months of the campaign with far more cash at his disposal than a sitting president known for his fund-raising prowess, a scenario that presents the Republican’s Boston-based campaign with a series of strategic and tactical opportunities that could provide a crucial difference as he enters the final stretch of a race expected to be razor-close.

The growing financial advantage, one that would have been hard to predict several months ago, comes after months of hoarding money as President Obama’s campaign spent heavily on television ads trying to brand Romney early in the minds of voters. But with a race that still appears tight, Romney’s campaign is now enjoying some of the rewards of withholding its money while being outspent — by about a 3-to-1 ratio — by the Obama campaign through the summer months. “That will be over soon,” said Stuart Stevens, a Romney senior adviser. “And the playing field will be more level.”

Unlike Obama, Romney seems to have been stockpiling money for the intense final months of the race. “If you have a financial advantage, which Romney does, it is important. It does give you more options,” said Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant who was a senior strategist for Al Gore’s and John Kerry’s presidential bids. “You’re able to do more things with your money.” But it’s not self-evident what those things ought to be. Romney could deepen his presence in the dozen battleground states where he has opened offices, hired field staffers, and intermittently run advertisements since the spring. Another way to exploit the advantage, Devine said, would be to try to make inroads in areas that are not part of the traditional Republican map and have not received the full force of Romney’s attention — states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — and prompt Obama to spend more money to defend them.

Romney since the start of June has spent $25.8 million on ads, for example, while Obama has spent $77.6 million, according to data maintained by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. But Romney spent much of the summer raising money, and saw his accounts balloon as the Republicans ended a bitter primary battle and began consolidating around Romney. Romney’s campaign has also launched an aggressive effort to utilize his new running mate, Paul Ryan, to raise new funds. The Republican’s presidential campaign last week announced a $10 million cash surge since Ryan joined the campaign. A memo from Matt Rhoades, Romney’s campaign manager, said 68 percent of donations were from new donors, and that the average donation was $81.

Although Romney has an advantage going forward, he has been vastly outspent by Obama, a point Romney’s campaign often makes in an effort to show that it is only now catching up with the president. Now, Romney’s financial staff members believe they are on pace to match Obama’s haul, which experts believe will top out around $800 million, for each campaign.

But campaign aides say this new parity has changed little psychologically — they proudly note that some staffers are paying their own way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and pledge that the sodas at the Boston headquarters will never be free — and top advisers still meet with Rhoades, the campaign manager, to present ideas of how the money should be spent. Every day, a report is produced showing how much money was spent, how much came in, and how much is left.

One area they may choose to invest in is developing a more robust get-out-the-vote operation, in an attempt to ensure their strongest supporters turn out on Election Day. The desirable television ad space in the dozen or so battleground states is likely to be bought up by early September, according to some campaign observers, which will make it increasingly difficult for candidates to use any more money to mount a television ad campaign. “There will be a lot of TV,” said Dave Carney, a New Hampshire-based Republican consultant who was national field director for President George H.W. Bush’s 1992 campaign. “But you’ll see a hugely expanded use of money to reach voters beyond what has traditionally been done.”

One shift this year is more money being poured into online ads, and into ways to target specific voters in a fragmented media environment. In one innovative case, the campaigns are using Pandora, the online music service, to target listeners of a range of music genres to sign up for campaign updates.

One Trackback

  1. […] negative burn rate every month since May (and some months even prior to that)?  How about Obama outspending Romney 3-to-1 all summer with unprecedented hundreds of millions of dollars in negative ads that opened no discernible lead […]

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