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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

GOP Outspending Obama Across the Map

photo of Reid Wilson
July 27, 2012

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated where President Obama is spending most of his advertising dollars in Pennsylvania. He is spending the money in western Pennsylvania media markets.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his conservative allies are outspending President Obama in every swing state except Pennsylvania this week, dropping nearly $8 million more on television advertising than the incumbent, according to sources watching the TV market.

Obama spent almost $10 million across nine swing states, while Priorities USA Action, the Democratic super PAC, spent an additional $1.1 million. Romney's campaign spent $7.2 million in eight states this week, with Republican outside groups kicking in an additional $11 million on television advertising between July 24 and July 30.

 

The levels and targets of this week's advertisements are largely consistent with what the two sides rolled out last week. Both sides expect the amount of advertising to increase dramatically after Labor Day, when voters begin to tune in to the race. But there's no denying that the surge of advertising has begun far earlier this year than it has in years past.

Democrats have long feared the outside groups that are playing a bigger role this year than they ever have would swamp Obama's campaign. Those fears now appear prescient: American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, the dual wings of the best-funded Republican outside group, spent more combined this week -- $11.4 million -- than Obama's campaign did.


INTERACTIVE:
Battleground Ad Spending

All told, Romney and Republican groups have spent more than $202 million on television advertising, though at least $40 million of that money has gone toward reserving ad time that won't be used until September and October. Obama and his allies have dropped almost $141 million on their own paid advertising campaigns. That brings the collective amount spent on television buys since early April to more than $343 million.

The bulk of the overall spending is still focused on just three states. Both sides have spent a combined $67 million in Florida, $63 million in Ohio, and $45 million in Virginia, accounting for a whopping $175 million. In each state, the GOP has a money advantage: Republicans have outspent Democrats by $16 million in Florida, by almost $10 million in Virginia, and by $4 million in Ohio.

Voters in Colorado, Iowa, and Nevada have all been inundated by more than $20 million in advertising. And for all Republicans' optimism over North Carolina's 15 electoral votes, both sides are still indicating they believe the state is in play. This week alone, Obama is spending more than $1 million, while Romney and his outside allies are spending just north of $2 million. North Carolina has been on the receiving end of more than $35 million in advertising; Republicans have outspent Democrats by almost exactly a 2-to-1 ratio.

Obama has spent more than $10 million in five states — Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. Meanwhile, Romney, whose ad spending started slower, has only spent more than $10 million from his own coffers in Ohio.

Republicans are still hoping to put Michigan on the map, despite several polls out this week that show Obama has a significant lead there. The two Crossroads organizations spent nearly $1 million on advertising there this week. To date, Obama has only spent $411,000 in the Wolverine State, and that was back in April.

Obama's team, meanwhile, is aiming to put Pennsylvania securely in their column. Obama and Priorities USA Action are spending nearly half a million dollars in several markets outside of Philadelphia, mostly in the west side of the state where working-class white voters have trended Republican in recent years.

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