Is Obama's Spending Lead Moving the Polls?

Based on the latest data from the Wisconsin Advertising Project, Obama's spending advantage is starting to come into play. In the week from September 28 to October 4, Obama-Biden spent $16.2 million on ads in 15 swing states to McCain-Palin and the RNC's $9.5 million.

Is this spending making a difference? The answer is a qualified yes.

To figure out the impact of Obama's TV ad spending edge in various states, I updated this spreadsheet to aggregate a number of data points, including RCP averages from various points in the race, 2004 results, and aggregate ad spending as well as ad spending per voter per week.

In states where Obama has an above average spending advantages (more than 1.7 to 1), his RCP average lead has moved up 3.61 percent versus in 2.44 percent in states where the candidates were more stalemated in terms of ad spending. A similar shift of about 1.2 points was found when comparing these polling averages to July 1 or the first date we had polling for a state, when ad spending was a fraction of what it is today. 

With 15 states, this kind of analysis is plagued by a small-n factor in which one state can throw the calculus off dramatically. It's also worth pointing out that state-specific RCP averages can be less reliable than their national counterparts.

In these cases, I find it useful to build typologies state by state. Overall, I found 5 states (Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia) in which a massive Obama spending edge correlated with an above-average shift to Obama since September 28, versus one state that defied this pattern (Indiana). Remove Indiana and the ad spending effect rises to 1.6 points.


As for the rest of the states, all but one are grouped as battlegrounds in that both candidates were competitive at a 2-to-1 spending ratio or lower, and these generally resulted in more muted shifts or contradictions between the July and September deltas.

The odd man out is Minnesota in which McCain is actually outspending Obama and has held the line relatively well there. This is the one example of an ad effect working in his direction.

Here's a scatterplot of Obama's ad spending edge in dollars per voter last week, mapped against the change in the RCP average from July 1st and from September 28th:

So, the difference between outspending your opponent 3.6 to 1 and 1.3 to 1 could be about 1.2 points -- maybe 1.6. But I wouldn't write home about this until we have several weeks of ad spending correlated with corresponding before and after poll data.

It's also worth noting that this cash advantage is not recreatable in every state. There are still lots of states where McCain will compete aggressively. That means saturation advertising on both sides, making it physically impossible to maintain a 3-to-1 cash advantage. And even if it were possible, it wouldn't be as effective since McCain has established a baseline presence.

Obama's spending advantage is also mostly in Republican states that are not likely to be tipping points that have seen little McCain advertising. These uncontested situations In these states are ripe for moving poll numbers. Obama is advertising at normal levels and McCain is on the air little or not at all. However, these will be wasted dollars if Obama doesn't succeed in flipping these states or realign them to the point where they are electoral vote #270.

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I'm in DC

so I see the ads that are for northern Virginia.  In the past month, I can't remember seeing a McCain ad.  On the other hand, I can't go a day without seeing Obama on TV.  And we wonder why northern Virginia is becoming so Democratic.

Northern Virnginia and Democrats

Northern Virgnia has become more Democratic because the Bush Administration and previous Republican Administration has supported open borders and unlimited immigration.  Now the public schools in Northern Virginia was less than 50% white.  Any place where the public schools are less than 50%, the Repulbicans have little chance of winning.

also, the whites in Northern Virgnia as educated knowledge workers.  They are the Demographic groups that the Bush Administration has worked very hard to alienate with eight years of inarticulate incompetence.

Does Money Move Polls




I'm sure all that Foreign Money...

...pouring into the Obama campaign is giving Obama somewhat of an advantage.  "But" that doesn't let McCain's inept advisers/consultants off the hook.  Or McCain, himself.

The Obama surrogates have been out race baiting over the past week effectively painting the McCain-old-white-guy picture.  And explaining Palin off as redneck racist.  This is going unanswered and is hurting us more than the money issue - my opinion.

Were I McCain, I'd be on the phone, personally-today, with Condi, Colin, JC Watts & Lynn Swann beseeching them to come out and campaign for him.  Imploring them, reminding them that;  "the democrats are trying to paint us a racists and we need your help in dispelling this lie".  I wouldn't take no for an answer and I'd force them to either agree or hang-up in my ear. 

Can you imagine Sarah Palin and Condi Rice walking out together at a rally in Ohio, PA, or one of the other battleground states?  Or McCain and Colin Powell?  And it wouldn't cost hardly anything.  Its not about money but about smart campaigning, in my view.  DD

Yes, I can imagine...

Can you imagine Sarah Palin and Condi Rice walking out together at a rally in Ohio...


I can also imagine Powell, Rice, and others not wanting to look like the token black person.  Which is exactly what they'd look like.


It's about smart campaigning indeed.

The whole idea of them joining the campaign...

...would be to recruit Black conservatives and at the same time dispel the concept among blacks that the GOP is a racist white party.   Black Repub's should be aggressive about that task that they can accomplish as few others can.  And this is their opportunity.  The icing on the cake would also be votes for McCain among those with "white guilt" who because of that [and only because of that] are going to vote Obama.  

Of course we'd expect the left, as those above, to throw the "token black" and "Uncle Tom" slings and arrows as usual.  That would be viewed for the negative, hateful tripe that it is.  Not to worry about but simply ignore it. DD

I wish that would work,

but seriously the vast majority of blacks have long ago refused to think for themselves, and look to the poverty pimps, race hustlers and liberal Democrat politicians to tell them what to do.  Any black conservative will simply been seen as "acting white" and white liberals will simply them that it is all a scam that will somehow "lynch them all if they fall for it".

No todays blacks are happlily back in bondage to the wlefare-state plantation.  White liberal Democrats can continue to keep "blacks in their place" without then need of the KKK or Jim Crow policies.

Once again, the target here are the victims of...

..."white guilt". ( LINK )  I'm convinced that there are millions of anglo's out there who are going to pull the lever for Obama because they suffer from this "condition".  Many of these "infirmed"  could be turned by the visual presence of our Titan's.  Regarding the Black vote, if the GOP could pull as little as 3% more than usual it would be huge.  I have to believe that there are many a Black American out there who are just as frightened of Obama's socialism as  we are. Many former Hillary supporters, etc.  There are opportunities. 

I'll be very disappointed w/Condi if she doesn't make at least one campaign appearance on McCains behalf.  The Republican Party has been good to her.  Lets face it, the GOP nomination was hers for the taking.  She obviously didn't want it.  She needs to give something back to the party as does Colin Powell.  This is their chance.  DD 

"Can you imagine Sarah Palin

"Can you imagine Sarah Palin and Condi Rice walking out together"

Yeah, it'd remind people that McCain and Palin look like an odd couple together, like Bush and Rice do.

"Or McCain and Colin Powell? "

No, I literally can't imagine that. Powell hasn't even endorsed McCain for president and there have been rumours that he is going to endorse Obama.


Well considering that the polls have narrowed in the last few..

days, I would say perhaps not.  Obama now has to defend against ACORN voter fraud, his friend the unrepentant Pentagon bomber and cop killer Bill Ayers, Raila Odinga who is the Marixst, pro-genocide, pro-Islamofascist dictator of Kenya that he supported last year (and happens to be his cousin), Rev. Wright and Tony Rezko rather run more attack ads against McCain.


Having to outspend >3:1 for a 1% improvement is a pretty expensive marginal benefit. However, if you don't have to worry about spending limits because of not accepting federal money, and instead financing through hundreds of millions of dollars from foreigners and unions, it probably doesn't matter. I expect this same "cost-consciousness" to carry over to an Obama administration if - God forbid - he wins.