Obama's Late-Game Ad Advantage

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 2 2012 10:07 AM

Why Obama's Ads Are Getting More TV Airtime Than Romney's

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Obama speaks during a campaign rally in Boulder, Colo., on Thursday

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

Coming down the home stretch, Team Obama and Team Romney are flooding the airwaves with roughly the same amount of campaign cash. The difference? Money spent by the president and his friends appears to be going a good deal farther in terms of total ads bought.

Politico's Mike Allen with the numbers and the explanation:

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Kantar Media’s CMAG, counting every presidential ad aired from Oct. 24 to Oct. 30, found the Obama campaign aired TWICE as many spots as Romney – 35,731 to 17,277, with estimated spending of $24 million for Obama and $11 million for Romney. But, but, but … what about the outside groups? Even adding in the outside groups, the total Democratic message had 79,089 spots (Obama + outside groups), to 64,945 for Republicans. Spending, though, was at parity: $55 million for each side. Republicans will argue they are targeting more precisely, and had to buy later, more expensive time because of the primaries. Nevertheless, Democrats can claim more spot for the buck.

As those of us who reside in swing states can tell you, the vast majority of the ads from both sides are accompanied by ominous music and scary voice overs, particularly from the Republican side. CMAG's numbers back that up: 99 percent of Romney's ads that aired over that stretch were scored as having a negative tone, as were 89 percent of spots funded by GOP outside groups. Obama and his allies, meanwhile, weren't that much better, with 85 percent of the president's ads and 87 percent of outside spending carrying a negative tone.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.