Obama has consistently out-advertised Romney during campaign
This advantage could decay quickly, political scientists say
The advertising during the current presidential campaign has broken records in terms of dollars spent. What is generally surprising is that the Obama camp has been consistently over-spending over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who is backed by multi-millionaire PACs.
In general, Obama has consistently out-advertised Romney, but his advantage has been mitigated or even eliminated by the efforts of independent groups on the Republican side and, to a lesser extent, the Republican National Committee.
"The Washington Post has a neat feature displaying the presidential election's political advertising - who is airing it, where, and how much," Sides says.
Sides came up with a highly interesting tidbit. "Just prior to the Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney, the Republican Party, and its affiliated independent groups began to open up a large advantage in televised advertising. But during the RNC and subsequently, the Republicans advertised much less, returning the advantage to Obama."
Sides drew up a graph of the total number of ads aired in the presidential general election by every entity - Obama, Romney, both political parties and all the various independent groups.
"Ads sponsored by Obama, the DNC and Democratic-affiliated groups outnumbered those aired by their Republican counterparts up until the end of July. Then, with the exception of the second week of the Olympics, Republican ads began to outnumber Democratic ads by 10,000 or more, but this advantage disappeared during the weeks of the RNC and DNC - as the Republicans stood down while Democrats maintained comparable levels of advertising."
The Romney camp is funded by his campaign, as well as special conservative groups.
"In general, Obama has consistently out-advertised Romney, but his advantage has been mitigated or even eliminated by the efforts of independent groups on the Republican side and, to a lesser extent, the Republican National Committee.
"Over this period, approximately 82 percent of the ads aired by independent groups on the Republican side came from three groups: Restore our Future (19 percent), Americans for Prosperity (23 percent) and Crossroads GPS (40 percent). This is a dramatic departure from 2008."
Obama's ads have recently dominated the national airwaves and cyberspace.
"What makes this hypothesis plausible is that imbalances in advertising spending are often necessary for advertising to influence the polls. If the candidates are at parity, then the two sides' spending may simply cancel each other out," Sides notes.
Sides also says that this advantage doesn't necessarily make the election a done deal. "Obama supporters should not get too excited. The effects of ads also decay quickly. Any advantage over these past several months, or even these past two weeks, should be less important than an advantage in late October."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Keywords: Obama, Romney, advertising, campaign, special groups
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