Spotlight

Early and Often

None

WASHINGTON - APRIL 26: Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AK) talks with reporters after voting on the US Troop Readiness, Veterans' Health And Iraq Accountability Act at the US Capitol April 26, 2007 in Washington, DC. The Senate voted 51-46 in favor of the emergency appropriations bill which provides $100 billion the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a non-binding timeline for combat troop withdrawal beginning in October 2007. President George W. Bush has promised to veto the bill. 
National Journal
Steven Shepard
See more stories about...
Steven Shepard
Jan. 7, 2014, 6:50 a.m.

We’re less than a week in­to 2014, but you wouldn’t know it from the glut of early cam­paign activ­ity. This week has already brought new TV ads from Neb­raska Sen­ate can­did­ate Ben Sas­se (R), Arkan­sas gub­n­ernat­ori­al hope­ful Mike Ross (D) and would-be New York Rep. George Demos (R).

Stu­art Rothen­berg writes Tues­day that these early TV ads are noth­ing new, cit­ing an art­icle he au­thored in 1986 doc­u­ment­ing ad buys in the pre­lim­in­ary stages of that year’s midterm elec­tions. Un­sur­pris­ingly, Rothen­berg finds little cor­rel­a­tion between spend­ing early and win­ning. Some los­ing can­did­ates hit the air­waves early — Sen. Paula Hawkins (R-FL) — and lost any­way. Oth­ers — Bob Gra­ham (D-FL) and then-Demo­crat Richard Shelby (AL) — spent early and won.

— The com­mon thread here is party af­fil­i­ation. Pres­id­ent Obama‘s ap­prov­al rat­ings start the year hov­er­ing near re­cord-lows. And, as Charlie Cook writes, the “6-Year Itch” the­ory isn’t lack­ing for his­tor­ic­al evid­ence. Sen. Mark Pry­or (D-AR), like Hawkins 28 years ago, is both his party’s most vul­ner­able in­cum­bent seek­ing reelec­tion and the most ag­gress­ive in­cum­bent on the air so far. And the half-dozen TV ads Pry­or has run thus far are a test­a­ment to his vul­ner­ab­il­ity, not just test­ing a tac­tic.

— Early ads can have some lim­ited im­pact. A study of early-2012 TV ad­vert­ising in the pres­id­en­tial race found the ef­fects were very tem­por­ary and usu­ally can­celed out by the oth­er side. But in midterm races, when polls are in­fre­quent, and your op­pon­ent might not be on the air yet, cap­tur­ing a snap­shot of pub­lic opin­ion im­me­di­ately after a new ad can help with fun­drais­ing and oth­er per­cep­tion-driv­en goals. And with the pro­lif­er­a­tion of out­side-group ad spend­ing — like the Club for Growth in Pry­or’s case — can­did­ates and oth­er groups some­times need to go up earli­er just to fight to a draw.

Rothen­berg is right that the ads ul­ti­mately don’t mat­ter as much as the fun­da­ment­als of the race: party cues and per­cep­tion of the pres­id­ent. But with money flood­ing can­did­ates and out­side groups alike, com­bined with the dif­fu­sion of Amer­ic­ans’ me­dia us­age, early paid ad­vert­ising isn’t go­ing any­where.

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
7 REPUBLICANS ON STAGE
Carly Fiorina Will Not Be Allowed to Debate on Saturday
2 days ago
THE LATEST

ABC News has announced the criteria for Saturday’s Republican debate, and that means Carly Fiorina won’t be a part of it. The network is demanding candidates have “a top-three finish in Iowa, a top-six standing in an average of recent New Hampshire polls or a top-six placement in national polls in order for candidates to qualify.” And there will be no “happy hour” undercard debate this time. “So that means no Fiorina vs. Jim Gilmore showdown earlier in the evening for the most ardent of campaign 2016 junkies.

Source:
×