SLU Pundit

The weblog of Kevin Boyd, a student at Southeastern Louisiana University

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Kerry Spending more than Bush on ads

The poor Kerry campaign is outspending Bush on TV ads in key battleground states. Furthermore, liberal groups aligned with the Kerry campaign are also running purely attacks targeting Bush's policies on Iraq, the environment, and various other issues. From the USA Today article:

USA TODAY obtained data collected by TNS Media Intelligence/Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ads. The data, covering 17 closely contested states from March 3 through June 26, show:

• The Kerry campaign's ads were shown 72,908 times, 3.1% more than the Bush-Cheney campaign's 70,688 showings.

• Political groups' ads were shown 56,627 times. All but 513 were ads by liberal, anti-Bush groups such as MoveOn PAC and The Media Fund. The others were by conservative groups.

Taken together, about 129,000 Kerry or anti-Bush ads were aired, 82% more than the Bush-Cheney total.

The 17 states used were Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Hmmm....weren't commercials for Fahrenheit 9/11 taken into account?

Bush campaign officials say the data do not trouble them. "The Bush-Cheney campaign has $64 million in cash on hand. The campaign is very comfortable that it has the resources to implement its strategy," says Bush-Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt. The Kerry campaign had about $30 million on hand at the end of June but was still raising money at a fast clip.

The Bush campaign should be comfortable. Kerry cannot use any money he has in the bank after his convention (which is a month before the Republican convention). In other words, Kerry must raise money all over again after the convention. Bush can just continue to hoard money and blast Kerry, basically unopposed, until the GOP convention in early September. Also, the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Laws kick in on July 31 which means the liberal groups cannot attack Bush by name.

Some political scientists say the numbers shouldn't concern the president. "The Bush campaign gets a lot of free media time, good and bad, because he's the president," says Jamie McKown, political communications professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

The problem with this is Bush's PR team is so inept they turn even the best news into bad news. They have not done a good job publicizing our successes in Iraq. Bush has done a poor job explaining how well the economy is doing. Bush does a lousy job defending his policy proposals from immigration reform to the Patriot Act.

"It's still a long way to the election," says Karen Cartee, professor of advertising, public relations and communications at the University of Alabama. "And the people who haven't made up their minds aren't paying much attention yet."

Personally, I think everyone that's going to vote on November 2nd has already made up their minds with the exception of around 2-5% of voters. Both sides need to play to their base, which are actually surprisingly centrist in nature.


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