September 12, 2008

ALL DEFENSE, ALL THE TIME:

Update on Obama's First Advertising Buy (Jay Cost, 9/11/08, Real Clear Politics)

If you look at those deep red states, those that Bush won by 10+, you'll see that Obama is currently running closer than John Kerry did in 2004. However, in all of the states except Indiana, he is not running close. Now that we are in the home stretch, and it is time for the Obama campaign to make tough choices about how to allocate scarce resources (money and, just as important, the candidate's time) - some of those deep red states should probably be jettisoned.

Was it worth running advertisements in these states?

That's a difficult question to answer. It appears unlikely that Obama will win any of them - and as of July 30 he had forced McCain to divert just $77,000 (to North Dakota). However, nobody knew for sure back in June. For a state like North Dakota, $150k seems like it was a good investment, even though it has not panned out. On the other hand, it is hard to justify the expenditures on a state like Georgia. The state's closeness in 1996, Bill Clinton's victory in 1992, and Obama's expectation of enhanced African American turnout probably justified some investment. However, $1.8 million is a lot to lay down on a state that's overwhelmingly favored the GOP in the last two cycles. I'd note that this figure doesn't include the costs of more than 100 paid staffers and 30 field offices.

Plus, advertising in places like North Dakota inflated expectations of Obama's electoral prospects. Now that these places seem out of reach, expectations are being corrected - which might be contributing to the unease among many Democrats.


As the campaign settles towards Mr. Obama trying to carry the Kerry states, the unease would result from the fact that even if he does so he loses the election.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 12, 2008 12:00 AM
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