Obama Throwing Ad Money At The Problem

Freakonomics explained the other day that campaign spending doesn’t mean jack, that the best candidate will win even if he or she is grossly outspent. But money certainly doesn’t hurt–or at least that seems to be the position of the Obama camp.

By early next week, says the NYT, Obama’s campaign will have spent $188 million on advertising, more than twice McCain’s $91 million. This media blitz is possible, of course, because Obama renounced public campaign money, which would have limited his entire campaign to spending $84 million in total. Also, Obama can afford to blanket the airwaves. He raised more than $100 million in September alone.

As to the debate fisticuffs about whose ads are more negative, the answer is McCain’s. Sort of.  A higher percentage of McCain’s ads are attack ads, but because Obama is spending so much more money, he has actually bought more attack ads.

NYT: The most recent analysis of the presidential advertisements by the University of Wisconsin, based on the period from Sept. 28 through Oct. 4, found that nearly 100 per cent of Mr. McCain’s commercials included an attack on Mr. Obama and that 34 per cent of Mr. Obama’s advertisements, which were more focused that week on promoting his agenda, included an attack on Mr. McCain.

That finding reflected the McCain campaign’s strategy of trying to make Mr. Obama an unacceptable choice in the eyes of undecided voters and Mr. Obama’s goal of making undecided voters comfortable with him.

But the Wisconsin Advertising Project says that since Mr. Obama wrapped up the Democratic nomination in June, 54 per cent of Mr. McCain’s advertisements have been completely focused on attacking him, roughly a quarter have mixed criticism of Mr. Obama with a positive message about Mr. McCain, and 20 per cent have been devoted solely to promoting Mr. McCain.

In the same period, the study found that 41 per cent of Mr. Obama’s advertisements had been devoted solely to attacking Mr. McCain, one-fifth mixed criticism of Mr. McCain with a positive message about Mr. Obama, and 38 per cent were solely devoted to promoting Mr. Obama.

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