Huffpost Politics
Paul Blumenthal Headshot

Barack Obama Winning Ad War Against Mitt Romney, Outside Groups

Posted: Updated:
BARACK OBAMA ADS 2012
President Barack Obama arrives at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds on Oct. 24, 2012, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) | AP

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's campaign is winning the advertising war in the final month before Election Day, according to a new report from the Wesleyan Media Project.

This presidential race has already smashed all previous records for TV advertising, according to the political ad analysis group. Since the beginning of June, 915,000 TV ads have been run, far more than the 634,000 aired during a similar time frame in 2008.

So far this month, the Obama campaign and its allies have bested Mitt Romney's campaign and his coterie of well-financed super PACs, nonprofits, trade associations and party organizations. Obama and friends ran 112,730 ads from Oct. 1 to Oct. 21, whereas Romney and friends ran just 97,407 -- despite the Republicans outspending the Democrats $87 million to $77 million.

"One reason Obama has been able to win the air war in most media markets is that his campaign is funding most of its own advertising, which entitles his campaign to the lowest rate charged by local television stations," Travis Ridout, a co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, said in a statement. "By contrast, many ads supporting Romney are paid for by outside groups, which must pay whatever the market will bear to get their ads on the air."

Data released by the Wesleyan Media Project bears this out. Independent conservative groups like the super PACs Restore Our Future and American Crossroads ran almost exactly the same number of ads as the Romney campaign did in the first 21 days of October, but spent an additional $17 million. The Obama campaign, meanwhile, was responsible for more than 90 percent of the ads airing in support of the president's reelection.

Obama's advantage extended to 13 of the top 15 swing-state media markets. Pro-Romney ads outnumbered pro-Obama ads only in Columbus, Ohio, and Norfolk, Va., and the gap was fewer than 200 ads in both markets. Obama ads dominated the airwaves in major markets like Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., Reno, Nev., and Washington, D.C. In each of those five markets, Obama and his allies ran over 1,000 more ads than Romney and his allies during the first three weeks of October.

This may change before Nov. 6. In the past two days, both Restore Our Future and American Crossroads have announced their largest-ever ad buys of $17.7 million and $12.6 million, respectively.

The Wesleyan Media Project report also found that the tone of advertising is far more negative than in previous presidential elections. That negativity wasn't exclusive to the super PACs and other independent groups, but was also embraced by the Obama campaign. In October, 73 percent of all Obama campaign ads were negative compared to just 36 percent from the Romney campaign. The majority of Romney's ads were contrast spots, using a negative mention of Obama to highlight a positive note on Romney.

Independent groups remained the most negative, with 95 percent of ads from the Republican groups and 88 percent from the Democratic groups going on the attack in October.

Related on HuffPost:

Obama Approval Rating
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Political Ad Tracker: 2012 Election - USATODAY.com

Obama ads dominate October airwaves

Swing-state voters hit with mail ad barrage

How Television Stations Are Handling The Flood Of Political Ads

 
  Obama Romney
Obama Romney
332 206
Obama leading
Obama won
Romney leading
Romney won
Popular Vote
33 out of 100 seats are up for election. 51 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Holdover
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats* Republicans
Current Senate 53 47
Seats gained or lost +2 -2
New Total 55 45
* Includes two independent senators expected to caucus with the Democrats: Angus King (Maine) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
All 435 seats are up for election. 218 are needed for a majority.
Democrat leading
Democrat won
Republican leading
Republican won
Democrats Republicans
Seats won 201 234
Click for Full Results