Tag Archives: Rove

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is XVII

MSNBC dishes most of the red meat this week with weekly ad buys.  We don’t have the details for each market but the markets included (and not included) tell a much bigger story.  Look at the week-over-week shift.  Last week had the Romney campaign’s entire 3-2-1 strategy for winning the election: Virginia (2x), Ohio (2x), Florida (2x), Colorado (1x), Iowa (2x) and Wisconsin (1x). This week the front-half of the 3-2-1 strategy carpet bombs Ohio (4x) but thins appreciably after that: no Virginia, Florida down to one market, and it’s the back-half of the 3-2-1 strategy that remains: Colorado (1x), Wisconsin (2x), Iowa (1x) with the expansion to Nevada (1x). This Battleground ad spending shift is a huge win for Romney. As MSNBC writes:

One of the “tells” we told you about MONTHS ago about this battleground map was to keep an eye on October and see where the battle was being waged more intensely. If it was in the New South battleground states of FL/NC and VA more than the Midwest, advantage Obama. Well, this list of markets tells you, the battle is in the Midwest, that’s good news for Romney.

Without the ad points (we asked for them) it’s hard to tell the saturation but MSNBC reported the gross dollar figures which are staggering:

This week alone, more than $58 million is being spent. Obama leads the pack with $20 million spent, but Romney is close at $16.5 million (of course, he is getting less bang for the buck because of when his campaign books ads). With outside groups factored in, Team Romney’s outspending Team Obama this week, $34 million to $24 million.

Regarding the ad points, according to MSNBC:

Romney has more ad points than Obama narrowly in Denver, Mason City, and Orlando.

A quick guide: RNC is the Republican National Committee, ROF is Restore Our Future (Romney Super PAC); AFP is Americans for Prosperity (pro-Romney group); CWA is Concerned Women for America (pro-Romney group); NRA is National Rifle Association (pro-Romney); AFF is American Future Fund (pro-Romney); and Priorities is Priorities USA Action (pro-Obama Super PAC).

Hottest Markets for the week 10/15-10/21 Hottest Markets for the week 10/8-10/14
1. Green Bay, WI
2. Denver, CO
3. Cincinnati, OH
4. Columbus, OH
5. Madison, WI
6. Toledo, OH
7. Rochester-Mason City, MN-Austin, IA
8. Cleveland, OH
9. Orlando-Daytona Beach. FL
10. Las Vegas, NV
1. Orlando, FL (Obama 1600, Romney1600, ROF 775, Priorities 630, ROF 215)
2. Norfolk VA (Romney 1500, Obama 1300, ROF1200, Priorities 350, NRA 300)
3. Cleveland, OH (Romney 1500, Obama 1500, AmCrossroads 1200, Priorities 400)
4. Denver, CO (Romney 1500, Obama 1500, AmCrossroads 1200, Priorities 300)
5. Toledo, OH (Romney 1500, Obama 1500, AmCrossroads 1100, Priorities 300, NRA 250)
6. Des Moines, IA (Romney 1500, Obama 1300, ROF 1000, Priorities 350, American Future Fund 360)
7. Roanoke, VA (Romney 1500, ROF 1500, Obama 750, Priorities 300, NRA 400)
8. Cedar Rapids, IA (Romney 1500, Obama 1300, ROF 780, American Future Fund 415, Priorities 400)
9. Green Bay, WI (Romney 1500, ROF 1500, Obama 500, Priorities 500, NRA 400)
10. Tampa, FL (Romney 1,500, Obama 1500, ROF 675, NRA 250)

MSNBC takeaways:
Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. Four of the top 10 hottest markets this week (in terms of advertising points from Oct. 15-21) are in the Buckeye State. Wisconsin has two, including Green Bay in the top spot. One striking thing about this week’s top markets — no Virginia. Markets like Norfolk, Roanoke, and Richmond have routinely been in the top 10, but they have dropped out to 16, 21, and 22, respectively. The Obama campaign has maintained its levels in Norfolk and Richmond, but cut it in half in Roanoke, from 1,500 points to 795 this week. The Romney campaign, on the other hand, INCREASED its spending in that market. The Obama campaign increased in places like Mason City, IA.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is XVI

After a one week hiatus (never did get last week’s info from NBC) the weekly top 10 ad markets is back with only one surprise, Green Bay, Wisconsin. If there weren’t any weekly gaps we could have done some really need stuff with this data but alas …

The no brainer states of Virginia, Ohio and Florida dominate the list which comes as no surprise.  We see the campaign focused Battlegrounds of Colorado, Iowa and Wisconsin being the real stories. This is straight out of Karl Rove’s 3-2-1 strategy he wrote about 5-months ago (Day 2 of this b log!)with 3 being Indiana, North Carolina and Virgina (2 out of 3 done), 2 being Ohio and Florida (obvious priorities through election day) and 1 being Colorado, Iowa or Wisconsin (based on this week’s spending).

While Team Romney is making a play for the other states (New Hampshire and Nevada) clearly they see their best chances in the three making today’s list.  The Romney campaign clearly saw concern in Iowa which bolsters the claim that Obama’s unprecedented 3-day commitment in August paid real dividends. No surprise comparatively new American Future Fund is big in Iowa as the conservative organization is headed by ex-GOP Iowa staffers. Additionally the pro-Romney teams are saturating Wisconsin which is a great sign about its potential vulnerability to flipping.  Finally, we see the NRA entering the mix in Norfolk, Virginia which is great since their constituency is both loyal and passionate which should help turnout.   All good signs that everything is on full blast for the final three weeks.

A quick guide: RNC is the Republican National Committee, ROF is Restore Our Future (Romney Super PAC); AFP is Americans for Prosperity (pro-Romney group); CWA is Concerned Women for America (pro-Romney group); NRA is National Rifle Association (pro-Romney); AFF is American Future Fund (pro-Romney); and Priorities is Priorities USA Action (pro-Obama Super PAC).

Hottest Markets for the week 10/8-10/14 Hottest Markets for the week 9/24-9/30
1. Orlando, FL (Obama 1600, Romney1600, ROF 775, Priorities 630, ROF 215)
2. Norfolk VA (Romney 1500, Obama 1300, ROF1200, Priorities 350, NRA 300)
3. Cleveland, OH (Romney 1500, Obama 1500, AmCrossroads 1200, Priorities 400)
4. Denver, CO (Romney 1500, Obama 1500, AmCrossroads 1200, Priorities 300)
5. Toledo, OH (Romney 1500, Obama 1500, AmCrossroads 1100, Priorities 300, NRA 250)
6. Des Moines, IA (Romney 1500, Obama 1300, ROF 1000, Priorities 350, American Future Fund 360)
7. Roanoke, VA (Romney 1500, ROF 1500, Obama 750, Priorities 300, NRA 400)
8. Cedar Rapids, IA (Romney 1500, Obama 1300, ROF 780, American Future Fund 415, Priorities 400)
9. Green Bay, WI (Romney 1500, ROF 1500, Obama 500, Priorities 500, NRA 400)
10. Tampa, FL (Romney 1,500, Obama 1500, ROF 675, NRA 250)
1. Madison, WI: Obama 1540, Restore 1480, Romney 940, Priorities USA 860
2. Orlando, FL: Obama 1700, Romney 1240, AJS 890, Crossroads 620, Priorities 250
3. Cleveland, OH: Romney 1540, Obama 1500, AJS 710, Priorities 440, Crossroads 400
4. Tampa, St. Pete, FL: Obama 1710, Romney 1300, AJS 670, Crossroads 480, Priorities 280
5. Washington, DC: Obama 1800, Romney 1500, AJS 570, Crossroads 250
6. Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA: Romney 1500, Obama 1340, AJS 670, Crossroads 530
7. Norfolk-Portsmouth, VA: Obama 1450, Romney 1440, AJS 730, Crossroads 215, Priorities 200
8. Dayton, OH: Romney 1540, Obama 1390, Crossroads 570, AJS 360
9. Richmond-Petersburg, VA: Romney 1475, Obama 1360, AJS 490, Crossroads 400, Priorities 230
10. Toledo, OH: Romney 1500/Obama 1110, AJS 680, Crossroads 270, Priorities 330

MSNBC takeaways:

No takeaways provided but away from the top ten, they do write-up an appropriately concerning story about potential ad spending mismanagement.  I’ll be curious to see how this washes out after the election because based on these reports, it really does look like amateur hour:

If Obama ends up winning the presidential contest, it could very well come down to this: Team Obama has a tactical advantage over Team Romney, and that’s especially true when it comes to advertising strategy. Politico has this example: “Voters in Columbus, Ohio, saw 30-second television ads for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney while watching ‘Wheel of Fortune’ on their CBS affiliate over three days in September. For Obama’s team, the order per spot cost $500. For Romney’s, the price tag on the order was more than five times steeper at $2,800 per ad.” What’s going on here? Politico explains, “Romney places his commercials on a week-to-week basis, rather than booking time well in advance, and typically pays more so that his ads don’t get preempted and to spare his campaign the hassle of haggling over time as prices rise.” Folks, this is the equivalent of an NFL team — in terms of tactics and ad-buying strategy — going up against a high school team. And here’s another example we’ve heard: For weeks, the Obama campaign has been hammering Romney on the “Big 10 Network.” Only until recently has the Romney campaign also decided to advertise on the channel, about five weeks AFTER the start of football season. In a close race, the little things matter.

Can We Believe the Presidential Polls?

Karl Rove knows a lot more about polls than just about anyone on the planet and he has a lucid column on the state of Presidential polling with some great references to 1980 and 2004. The truth of the matter is today’s contest is a close race with momentum waxing and waning between the two camps.  Right now Team Romney is riding high but expect the President to come back hard in the next debate.  No one gives up the crown without a fight and to expect anything less would be a great disservice to what will likely be a struggle to the last day. Also, based on Rove’s examples below he must read this blog 😉

First, the open embrace of pro-Democrat polls to help Jimmy Carter in 2980:

On Oct. 8, 1980, the New York Times released its poll on the presidential race in Texas, one of 10 battlegrounds. (Yes, the Lone Star State was then a battleground.) According to the Times, the contest was “a virtual dead heat,” with President Jimmy Carter ahead despite earlier surveys showing Ronald Reagan winning… Then came more hard punches. On Oct. 13, Gallup put the race nationally at Carter 44%, Reagan 40%. The bottom appeared to fall out two weeks later when a new national Gallup poll had Carter 47%, Reagan 39%. That produced more than a few empty chairs in phone banks across Texas. But most volunteers, grim and stoic, hung on, determined to stay until the bitter end. Only Election Day was not so bitter. Reagan carried all 10 of the Times’ battleground states and defeated Mr. Carter by nearly 10 points.

2012 polling

In the past 30 days, there were 91 national polls (including each Gallup and Rasmussen daily tracking survey). Mr. Obama was at or above the magic number of 50% in just 20. His average was 47.9%. Mr. Romney’s was 45.5%.

2004 polling (the last time an incumbent was running for re-election)

There were 40 national polls over the same period in 2004. President George W. Bush was 50% or higher in 18. His average was 49%; Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was at 43.8%.

Media misrepresentations versus reality

An Oct. 4, 2004, story in the New York Times declared the Bush/Kerry race “a dead heat” and asked “whether Mr. Bush can regain the advantage.” Mr. Bush was hitting the vital 50% mark in almost half the polls (unlike Mr. Obama) and had a lead over Mr. Kerry twice as large as the one Mr. Obama now holds over Mr. Romney. So why was the 2004 race “a dead heat” while many commentators today say Mr. Obama is the clear favorite? The reality is that 2012 is a horse race and will remain so. An incumbent below 50% is in grave danger. On Election Day he’ll usually receive less than his final poll number. That’s because his detractors are more likely to turn out, and undecideds are more resistant to voting for him.

Unrealistic state polls

Then there is the tsunami of state-level polls. Last week, there were 46 polls in 22 states; the week before, 52 polls in 18 states; and the week before that, 41 polls in 20 states. They’re endowed by the media with a scientific precision they simply don’t have.

Take last week’s CBS/New York Times Florida survey, which had Mr. Obama leading Mr. Romney by nine points. The poll sampled more Democrats than Republicans—nine percentage points more. Yet the Democratic advantage in the 2008 presidential exit polls was three percentage points. Does it seem probable that Florida Democrats will turn out in higher numbers in 2012, especially when their registration edge over Republicans dropped by 22% in the past four years?

On Aug. 2, radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt asked Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University polling organization—which runs the CBS/NYT battleground state polls, including last week’s Florida poll—if he expected a Democratic advantage in the Sunshine State three times what it was last time. Mr. Brown responded that “I think it is probably unlikely,” but defended his polling organization’s record.

American Crossroads Launches 9-state, $8.8 million Ad Campaign

With the Romney campaign being outspent 3:1 by the Obama campaign, outside groups like American Crossroads are launching new campaigns to keep the focus on Obama’s record:

American Crossroads, a GOP-aligned political action committee, will begin an $8.8 million ad buy in nine states on Thursday to defend Mr. Romney from Democratic charges that he helped ship U.S. jobs overseas, said the PAC’s president, Steven Law. The Crossroads ad marks a departure for it and most other outside political groups. Until now, they have spent most of their money on such themes as criticizing Mr. Obama for the rising federal deficit. But the new ad is the first from Crossroads to mention Mr. Romney explicitly, and in defending him it serves a role that candidates traditionally have filled themselves.

The ad by American Crossroads, which was founded with the help of Bush White House aide Karl Rove, says of Mr. Obama: “The press, and even Democrats, say his attacks on Mitt Romney’s business record are…’misleading, unfair and untrue,’ ” according to a script provided by the group. The ad underscores an important feature of how the race is being financed. Outside GOP committees, along with Mr. Romney’s campaign, are raising more money than their opponent, and plan to outspend Democrats this week on TV by about 2.5-to-1, according to figures provided by Democratic and Republican media-tracking sources.

The actual campaigns

In spending by the campaigns themselves, Mr. Obama is putting more money into TV ads currently. Mr. Obama will spend more than $9.4 million on ads in the coming week, compared with $6.6 million by Mr. Romney. Since the unofficial start of the general election in mid-April, Mr. Obama has outspent Mr. Romney by about 3 to 1. Campaign officials have suggested that, in part, the disparity is due to the fact that much of Mr. Romney’s money was raised under rules that limit its use to the general election, once he becomes the nominee. Mr. Obama is bound by the same restriction, but only Mr. Romney faced an expensive primary campaign that ate into money he was raising.

Wisconsin Recall Post Mortem

Karl Rove identifies in the Wall Street Journal the comparative strength in the GOP ground game versus the braggadocios Democrat ground game. Walker won the recall because:

Democrats were out-hustled by the Republicans– Walker won with 205,509 more votes than he received 18 months ago. Walker won by 172,739 votes, up from his 2010 margin of 124,638 votes; 38% of union households voted for Mr. Walker, up a point from 2010. The Badger State now looks more like it did in 2000 and 2004, when Democrats narrowly carried it by margins of 5,708 votes and 11,384 votes, respectively. President Obama’s campaign now admits Wisconsin is a tossup.

Democrats losing the voter-registration war in the eight battleground states:

In  Florida and Iowa Democratic registrations are down from their 2010 levels. Nearly 29,000 Democrats have disappeared from the Iowa registration rolls since January 2011, while about 10,000 Republicans have been added [Rove claims Florida is also seeing increased registrations of Republicans]. In Pennsylvania, both parties have lost ground—but Democrats have lost more: there are now 176,000 fewer Democrats registered in Pennsylvania than in November 2010, while GOP registrations have dropped by 62,000. Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina, both parties increased registrations—but Republicans added more. (All registration numbers come from state websites.)

Bottom line: “To beat Mr. Obama, Republicans must duplicate the ground game deployed by the GOP in Wisconsin that registered, persuaded and produced a massive turnout.”

Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard blog says Scott Walker is sending a message to Mitt Romney: “Go Big, and Go Bold

“In order for him to be competitive, not only in Wisconsin but in states like Wisconsin, he’s going to have to come out and show an aggressive plan to take on what we know are even bigger problems in our federal government. If he can do that, I think he can be competitive in Wisconsin.”

John McCormick at Bloomberg takes a lengthy look at the shaken Obama electoral map after Walker’s victory:

Until earlier this week, target states listed by President Barack Obama’s campaign didn’t include [Wisconsin]. In a campaign video released June 4 — the day before the recall — Obama campaign manager Jim Messina listed Wisconsin as “undecided,” along with Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia. “The key for Governor Romney to be competitive enough to win is I think he’s got to lay out a clear platform — something similar to what our friend Paul Ryan has done,” Walker said.

Karl Rove’s “3-2-1” Strategy for Romney in the Battlegrounds

One of the great games of election season is the electoral math machinations campaign strategists do piecing together the easiest coalition of states to get their preferred candidate to the magical 270 electoral votes needed to secure the White House.  In some ways that is the basis of this blog since my designated Battleground states are the ones that tip either candidate over the 270 threshold.  Today Karl Rove outlines his “3-2-1” path to victory for Mitt Romney by first carrying the states John McCain won in 2008 (while regaining Nebraska’s second district) which all appear likely — this totals 173 electoral votes. He then dives into the specifics behind 3-2-1:

Mr. Romney’s victory road starts with “3”—as in Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, a trio of historically Republican states (that total 39 electoral votes).

  • Indiana is a GOP lock, North Carolina is strongly trending GOP (Romney +8 recently) and Virginia will be a Battleground to the end

Next up is “2”—as in Florida and Ohio (and their 47 electoral votes). Both were close in 2008—a 2.8% margin for Mr. Obama in the former and 4.6% in the latter.

  • Both will remain Battlegrounds for the entirety of the election but Rove argues that state demographics in both are trending Romney’s way

Which brings us to “1.” Mr. Romney then needs one more state—any state—and the White House is his.

  • Romney would then clear the magical 270 should he win any of 8 available contested states: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, or Iowa

I think the great takeaway from the Rove piece is the relative ease with which Mitt Romney can piece together the 270 votes while the President has to defend an awful lot of turf should only a handful of GOP-trending states flip. For months the media peddled the “inevitability” of an Obama re-election when objective watchers knew better.  Now the math is out there for everyone to see and at best the President is in a dogfight and probably more likely is no longer even the favorite.