Does Money Even Matter in Elections Anymore?

In Virginia today, this lost: 

How many times do I have to say it? In the modern campaign, early money and establishment support matters far, far less than it used to, and could actually turn out to be a handicap -- particularly when money becomes the story. 

Campaigns like McAuliffe's that are focused above all else on money, and that put out self-congratulatory press releases about their "grassroots organization" and their Noah's Ark of big-name consultants, frequently forget that money can't buy two other M's: message and momentum. As a campaign manager, I'd much, much rather be running the guy with a message and no money versus the guy with money and no message. Why? Because the guy with a message will eventually find momentum, which will deliver all the money he needs when he needs it. 

Of course, political consultants (and, disclosure: I'm one), like early money and quarterly numbers stories because they determine whether and how much they will get paid. But the reality is that money rarely translates into votes, particularly when fundraising is a fig leaf covering up glaring flaws in a candidate's argument. Ask Terry McAuliffe, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani (who raised more than any other Republican from individuals, all for a single delegate) what having big, early bundler money gets you.  

I didn't predict Creigh Deeds would be the nominee until last week, but I did have a strong sense that Terry McAuliffe would crater once this DC fixer met grassroots reality. Placing me squarely in the analytical minority inside the Beltway, I tweeted this on January 29th: 

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3330/3612170755_e3ddcb00a7_o.png

Moran did not catch on partly because of his brother's baggage, but McAuliffe remained hugely vulnerable in a party that had just last year spit up and chewed out its most inevitable candidate in recent history, McAuliffe's former boss. That vulnerability caught up with him when Deeds became a viable candidate. 

And lo and behold, within days of Deeds catching on, which according to this Google search trends chart, happened sometime around May 27th, five days after the WaPo endorsement, he was outpacing McAuliffe by the 31st in search queries and most criticially, he suddenly had money. He was buying broadcast in Northern Virginia, and in fact bought a couple of ads on NBC's special on the Obama White House, a smart way of targeting Democratic voters, something even McAuliffe didn't do. Around this time, I noticed that the sea of McAuliffe signs on my way to work was thinning, to be replaced decisively by a sea of "Washington Post Endorses Deeds" signs. The coup de grace came in the final 24 hours, when with money to burn Deeds bought a "network blast" on Google's ad network, essentially taking over ad inventory on every website (including this one) if you lived in Virginia. 

The moral of the story is not to run an ascetic campaign for its own sake, but to realize that money and political success are growing more and more intertwined. This is not 1988 or 1992, when a Paul Simon or Paul Tsongas could have a surplus of political success combined a deficit of money, strangling their upstart campaigns in the crib. Today, the money comes in virtually instantaneously online at the first hint of success. The McAuliffe model of banking money early to generate momentum later through ads is broken. The new model is to generate organic opportunities for momentum first then monetize them, punching through the finish line in a final blitzkrieg at the end.  

Disclosure: I consult for Bob McDonnell. 

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This is a meme that needs to be pounded into the dense heads of any GOP consultant-types and establishmentarian Republicans who seem to still think we are still living in a world of information  deficit that requires large campaign funding to 'inform' voters.

Nope, we are in an era where people are awash in information, where close to half of voters get their campaign information via the internet, from sources usually removed from the campaign (but not always non-partisan, eg blogs), and the main job of a campaign media strategy is to fight through the clutter. Here's what matters in politics:

1. The Candidate

2. The Campaign Message/Issues/Platform/

3. Grassroots support, activism & 'boots on ground'

4. Campaign Strategy

5. Endorsements

6. Media and communications capability

.... oh, yeah, and ...

7. Money/Funding

All 7 always mattered but what's changed is the relative importance - the new reality is that information costs are lower than before (eg email blasts), but require different ways of getting voters attention (without turning them off). The new reality is that viral and innovative attention-getting that can leverage low-cost user-generated campaign support beats the massive throwing-money-at-old-hat hands down.

The McAuliffe model of banking money early to generate momentum later through ads is broken.

What's new: Running a bunch of TV ads as your main strategy is broken.

What's not new: Having a flawed candidate fail to capitalize on money, since money can never fix a bad candidate.

The new model is to generate organic opportunities for momentum first then monetize them, punching through the finish line in a final blitzkrieg at the end. 

Yes. But moreso - the 'opportunities for momentum' come from messaging that involves more campaign brains and less brawn than in the past ... and to add another military analogy, a faster OODA loop. Getting the WashPost endorsement message out there within days is good leverage example.

deeds strategy was blitzkrieg.

sorry, but he did ads in preference to GOTV.

There is another factor at work

Pretty much everyone in the Democratic Party hates McAuliffe.  His mom is on the fence.

That's gotta hurt his chances in the dogcatcher elections coming up.

why do we hate mcauliffe again?

I don't think he was the Clintonista getting the worst press in the primary, either...

not too familiar with him, but

1- association with clinton

2- does he have a background in actual politics or was he transitioning from aide to politician? being governor is a big deal, and i would imagine that being associated with a political family isn't enough for some voters

3- no real ties to VA

McAuliffe was a loser

A loser with a capital OOZER.

McAuliffe was DNC Chair from 2001 to 2005, during which the Democrats were lost in the Wilderness.  Howard "Scream" Dean took over and McAuliffe scoffed at the "50-State Strategy."  It only took Dean a year to swap House majorities, and two more to take the Senate and the presidency.

Then McAuliffe ran the Clinton campaign, started with a slam dunk candidate and lost big.

So he took all the money he got paid for losing the election for Hillary and decided that he wanted to be governor somewhere before running for city council.  Virginia sounded nice, close to all his old friends in Washington.  All that experience and money and all those years of running losing campaigns paid off.  He ran another losing campaign.  It's what he does.

How many times does anyone have to fail before they stop getting those phone calls?

Funny what hindsight can muster from the usual suspects....

Yep, it's amazing that all these die-hard Democrat farLeft libs here like RePacked and xtra-c and Vern'a'Rutting now say about the unelectable, horrible Terry... during the campaign, ummmm, not so much, eh?

Hindsight.  It makes the most mundane commenters look swillingly prescient.  Emphasis on swillingly.

I guess I missed the posts discussing the VA Democratic primary.

I guess I missed the posts discussing the VA Democratic primary where those comments could have been made. Could you provide the links?

lol

you already know the answer to that question

Sorry xtra-c but you're laughing to yourself... that's pathetic.

You could, ohhh I don't know, maybe sort of Google "virginia governor democrat primary blog" and get about 185,000 examples of places where you and your Echo Chamber pals could have posted something about how witty and insightful you were about the outcome of the democrat party governor's primary... and how McAuliffe was bound to lose.

But you didn't, did you?  Prescient only works if accountability isn't quite as hindsighted as you and Vern's rutting horde.

Still waiting for that link, MM

In the meantime, here is Kos's prediction from Monday:

  • Deeds 39
  • Moran 35
  • McAuliffe 26

Here is another Kos story talking about how McAullife had little behind his bid - other than money.

And a story from Talking Points Memo predicting that McAullife had blown it.

Money is the ONLY thing that

Money is the ONLY thing that matters nowadays.  We do not have democracy, we have goverment for sale, and whether you want elected, or are a company that wants everything in your best interests, there is a price.

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You could, ohhh I don't know,

You could, ohhh I don't know, maybe sort of Google "virginia governor democrat primary blog" and get about 185,000 examples of places where you and your Echo Chamber pals could have posted something about how witty and insightful you were about the outcome of the democrat party governor's primary... and how McAuliffe was bound to lose.

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uh

i was talking about the comments on this particular blog. there haven't been that many posts on the VA dem primary on the next right. i havent been reading about the VA dem primary on other blogs, i dont really care. and my post said specifically that i dont know much about him. take a deep breath.

For a while, I thought that

For a while, I thought that newspaper endorsements were irrelevant, that most people didn't care what a bunch of editorial staff writers thought.  For general election Presidential contests, I think this is still true.  This is the case in most state and local general elections as well. But I do think that newspaper endorsements are valuable in primary elections, depending upon the ideological orientation of the editorial page.

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We need to be vigilant, we

We need to be vigilant, we just want to avoid the incidence of cheating among official. What if the money during campaign period will be set aside for future spending such as the health reform or advocacy for a healthy and long life.Natural food stores aren't vitamin and supplement shops, what you want to look for is stores that stock organically grown foods.

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Whoever advertise with that

Whoever advertise with that many signs is like almost negative advertising. You'd have to make sure you get your message across to the widest audience in the most cost effective manner.

Abbotsford Realtor 

he's not an evil guy. and he is CRAZY enthusiastic.

but he's also establishment, and not Virginian. That apparently matters to some folks. You know, the ones who voted.

me? I'm busier watching Sestak, Spector and Toomey. Who do you figure to win PA-SEN out of those?

Toomey

n/t

Nt? What does it really

Nt? What does it really mean?

Mike - the magniwork review and drivercure scam consultant.

With your line of logic and

With your line of logic and failure to comprehend even the simplest concepts like those laid out by Patrick in this post, you might have better luck scratching the buck's rump in front of you in that ruttin' herd.

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Yes, money matters during

Yes, money matters during election. It seems those politicians who have the most money seem to be the most powerful. It is a sad reality, some people sell their votes in lieu of money. Cheating already exists by campaign period alone, how much more if they were already sat on their position.

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That sort of equates to 1:4

That sort of equates to 1:4 DEMOCRAT PARTY VOTERS in the Gov primary voted for someone that our local band of hindsighted liberal trolls like you and xtra-c and Nannie et al seemed to want to dismiss.

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Prescient?

Typical monkey-dung flinging by the A$$Hattster from Michigan.

Speaking for myself, I was responding to Ruffini's obviously flawed post mortem premise with what should have been obvious even to a casual observer: McAuliffe is not really a "Virginian".  Virginia is not New York.  No amount of money can change that.

This race moved to Deeds very late in the game. No one really knew how it would turn out, they were just a few points apart in the last polls I saw.

The outcome was overwhelming (~50% in a 3-way race and 10 of 11 CDs) despite misgivings about a GOTV operation for Deeds, since he layed off staff to support ad buys.  I do think the WaPo endorsement mattered in NorVa.

I commend the Va Ds for picking the best possible candidate to win.  I'll even make a prediction:  Mr. Deeds will have an easy time defeating Ruffini's 700 Club candidate.  Even conservative Va has had its fill of the Christianist terrorist bigots.

Vern'a'Rutting, you're missing the doe's scent...

Vern ruts out a couple of snorts, a hoof stomping or two and tries to embrace non-reality with this tidbit

 I was responding to Ruffini's obviously flawed post mortem premise with what should have been obvious

I guess to the 85,000 DEMOCRATS from Virginia voting for Terry McAuliffe in the primary that must not have been too obvious, Vern the Rutter.

That sort of equates to 1:4 DEMOCRAT PARTY VOTERS in the Gov primary voted for someone that our local band of hindsighted liberal trolls like you and xtra-c and Nannie et al seemed to want to dismiss.

Patrick's analysis was dead-on correct.  You and your herd are looking to dismiss a utter flopping failure by one of the Democrat Party's biggest wagging heads as "everyone" knew he would lose.

Righhhhhht. You run with that one --very credible, that. 

85,000 Democrat voters, rutboi, thought "the obvious" to you wasn't so bloody obvious and yet Patrick called it back in... was it May? Nope.  Was it April? Nope.  Was it March? Nope. February? Nope.  It was six months before the election --and you and your herd of bitches is calling it.... when is it?  Ummm, AFTER the election results are in.

Hindsight.  It's a wonderful tool for the uninformed and unititiated to sound ever so sage, no?

Now, is it back to the herd and a round of liberal rutting and finger-wagging?  Or do you have other tidbits from the echo chamber for us all?

 

you know what you are?

you're a cat, full of catty comments.

... and you know what cat penises are like.

So tell us Knackers... you're the expert on the subject?

I wonder if your mind is as tiny as your latest object of affection and attention?

I know biology. and apparently you don't, or you would

understand that I was talking about your barbed (and indiscriminante) tongue, not your also very obvious SPS.

Please link me to the post wherein opinions about McAullife

Please link me to the post on this site wherein opinions about McAullife where aired.

BTW, the Great Orange Satan himself predicted this on Monday:

  • Deeds 39
  • Moran 35
  • McAuliffe 26

 

Like many other times here, Nannie, you just can't read...

(sigh) again. The question was why your homies with 150% hindsight didn't call the race earlier... or blog about it... since you had loads and tons of options to do so in Al Gore's WorldWide InterNets... and ya' didn't. The issue isn't providing a link for you, Nannie. The issue is trying --once again-- to get you to read, to comprehend, to fathom. The simplest of tasks continue to elude while you try to move the goalposts with some non sequitur like "provide a link". Please, let's not now have you go back to the endlessly tiring and useless "But you said" and "I said" and blah-blah. Because for you, that's just more of the old dawg trick of trying to now move the goalposts.

Here are three quick examples of vile lefties correctly calling

Here are three quick examples of vile lefties correctly predicting McAullife's failure.

1) Kos's prediction from Monday:

  • Deeds 39
  • Moran 35
  • McAuliffe 26

2)  another Kos story talking about how McAullife had little behind his bid - other than money.

3) a story from Talking Points Memo predicting that McAullife had blown it.

You still haven't provided a single instance of anyone from the left calling it the other way.

 

 There are two basic truths

 There are two basic truths about the enormous deficits that the federal government will run in the coming years.  —  The first is that President Obama's agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits

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How many times do I have to

How many times do I have to say it? In the modern campaign, early money and establishment support matters far, far less than it used to, and could actually turn out to be a handicap -- particularly when money becomes the story.

Flyer Printing

You haven't gotten any for a while, have you?

What part of POST Mortem do you not understand?

BTW, Republican HACK, Scott Rasmussen, has Deeds at 47, The 700 Club Candidate 41.

That's uncalled for

No need to get personal.

indeed it is uncalled for

and yet, it is worth it. or it would be if I were so uncouth as to have written it! teehee.

rassmussen has a well-deserved reputation for being the most Republican-favoring pollster.

A head scratcher...

I'm not sure what was uncalled for.

There was more than enough in Michigan-Shat's sexualized rant to surmise his essential inadequacy.  I'd go so far as to posit his rant as an analog to a surrogate penis.

Rasmussen is indeed a well known R shill.  Leaving aside mere methodological issues such as robo-call surveys, sample self selection and opaque manipulation of data, of course.

I think you're scratching the wrong part, Ruttin Vern

With your line of logic and failure to comprehend even the simplest concepts like those laid out by Patrick in this post, you might have better luck scratching the buck's rump in front of you in that ruttin' herd.

'Cause when it comes to comprehension, you could scratch all day it wouldn't make you any brighter, dude.

Go scrape that hoof elsewhere, ok?  You've lost this argument twice now.

How many times do I have to

How many times do I have to say it? In the modern campaign, early money and establishment support matters far, far less than it used to, and could actually turn out to be a handicap -- particularly when money becomes the story.

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In Virginia today, this lost:

In Virginia today, this lost:   How many times do I have to say it? In the modern campaign, early money and establishment support matters far, far less than it used to, and could actually turn out to be a handicap -- particularly when money becomes the story.

Bathroom Vanity

It was six months before the

It was six months before the election --and you and your herd of bitches is calling it.... when is it?  Ummm, AFTER the election results are in.

Register Domains

85,000 Democrat voters,

85,000 Democrat voters, rutboi, thought "the obvious" to you wasn't so bloody obvious and yet Patrick called it back in... was it May? Nope.  Was it April? Nope.  Was it March? Nope. February? Nope.  It was six months before the election --and you and your herd of bitches is calling it.... when is it?  Ummm, AFTER the election results are in.

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Yes, money matters during

Yes, money matters during election. It seems those politicians who have the most money seem to be the most powerful. It is a sad reality, some people sell their votes in lieu of money. Cheating already exists by campaign period alone, how much more if they were already sat on their position. We need to be vigilant, we just want to avoid the incidence of cheating among official. What if the money during campaign period will be set aside for future spending such as the health reform or advocacy for a healthy and long life.Natural food stores aren't vitamin and supplement shops, what you want to look for is stores that stock organically grown foods. Organic foods are also sold in bulk, so the processed foods you're used to in bulk foods aren't the only option, and contrary to belief, you don't need a loan to buy healthier options.  Stores such as Whole Foods stock their shelves with things like beans, pasta, rice, and also bulk produce that is sans chemical additives, and in bulk and on the cheap.  You'll have to cook more, but shopping at natural food stores is like a payday cash loan to your own health. http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/06/04/saving-money-natural-...

Of course money matters

but its only one part of the equation. It gives you power of options. But it can't reserect the dead or make you not a joke. McAuliff was a dead man walking.

And local money is different than national money. Someone shoud point out the known wisdom that national money is a self fulfilling profosy. If you have money, you look in the lead and therefore a good investment to give money. However, I think that breaks down on the local level. A candidate with good organization and media skills can blow away sign gardens and doinky ads.

As I say, embrace the media! Reagan didn't bash the media, he used them. McAuliff lost a long time ago with his rediculous defense of Hillary after the nationals.

--------------------------------------------------------

And just to stir the pot I disagree with 'freedom truths'  list. I'd say . . . in my expert opinion : )

1. The Candidate (which = communication, leadership skills and charisma)

2. Strategy

3. Organization (paid pros)

3. Money (I put this equal with organization becuase money buys good people, good people get you money)

5. The Campaign Message/Issues/Platform/

6. Grassroots support, activism

Now, to disagree with my disagreement, I don't think that this was the case with Bush. That's why he's so very unpopular now . . . and will be. He didn't have communication or leadership skills ever, but he was the 'useful idiot'. Once he didn't deliver on certain conservative agends/issues they dumped him. Reagan stays in the spotlight not because he was a great pres issue wise (I'm not saying he was bad, just not as good as . . . it's debatable), but the guy was a natural born leader . . . to this day, from the grave. Issues aside, Obama has that same gift.

McAulif -- he was a towel boy for the party.

 

 

obama's also got a brain, not just Reagan's charisma.

;-) here's to hoping he doesn't end up like Kennedy, ya?

Most paid pros are horribly bad. The true winners are people from the creative class.

pros vs. connected

I'd take my chances with a pro who has very good execution skills vs. the creative class.  However, certainly in the upper class, connected gets confused with ability. But if you take the case of hillary, she certainly had good people (pros), but poor leadership and strategy.

pros + no strategy = competitive mess

creative + no strategy = creative mess

that's why I had leadership and strategy  above everything else. Obama had both . ..  that sustained him through dips and the uncertain times. Think the gas price issue. He avoided the knee jerk reations of the others. The economic dip, the same.

 . . . yeah, no open car for the obamas

who do you think plays video games?

best way to teach strategy (military loves 'em too, for battle sims).

Strategy is key, of course. The people who are best at strategy are typically the numbers people. Hillary hired all liberal-artsy fools. Obama got the talented creative class people -- the folks who can see both the numbers and the words, because they live them. It's like all the PHDs who write science fiction -- unique perspective about communication and quantification of ideas and people.

WHAT THE FUCK!!!!

Speaking of the last point about the Obama's safety.

WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH VIOLENT RIGHT WING NUTJOBS!!!!!

First, I don't think violence is confined to a side or an ideology .  . . think of the 60's and 70's for the left, but god damn man, time has moved on. And I think this site in particular is sensitive and against that kind of B.S, but  . . . . I don't know . . .

as for the occasioanl PRO -LIFER on here, it's not against the law! If you don't like the law, then get it changed. Until then, STOP HARASSING PEOPLE WHO ARE EXORSIZIING THIER RIGHT TO FOLLOW THE LAW.

As for the racist elements on the right, GROW THE FUCK UP. And for those who allow small snickers and the off-color jokes at parties and between your freinds, those little things add up to allow a climate for the really bad people out there. The small things add up.

----

ah, just had to get that off my chest.

just another poor boy lost in a rich man's war...

I don't mind if folks are pro-life -- never have. I respect and tolerate BETTER the folks who believe that they can't dictate my body to me, or my feelings, or my actions. But I do try to be respectful, even while pointing out the likely consequences.

But you're a fool if you think that folks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh aren't pawns in the game of engineering violence like this.

If it keeps up like this, having a closed car won't save Obama (and that's what the Secret Service has been saying). Folks, it's up to us, to monitor the people we know, and the people we meet.

Does Money Even Matter in Elections Anymore?

I totally agree with you Patrick. As you know, the NY20 race exceeded all expectations as to the amount of money raised. And to what end?

The Tedisco campaign had no coherent message, and as for momentum, we started at 50% and ended up at 49%.

As Jim's Finance Chair, I invested 8 weeks of my life and have nothing to show for it, other than having the experience of raising money for a candidate I believed in. I also got to see the benefits of raising money over the Internet (and it was fun).

But that campaign, just 10 weeks ago, is another example of your original point: Money matters much less than it used to.