Jul 8, 2012 1 Comment ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from USA Today: When it comes to campaign ads in the presidential race, there are two Americas.
In most of the country, just about the only time campaign ads for the presidential candidates are on TV is when there’s a news story about the ads. In the handful of battleground states that are likely to decide the outcome of the election, though, viewers can’t escape arguably the most intense early barrage of ads in American political history.
“In a swing state, you’re part of the presidential campaign,” says political scientist Darrell West, author of Air Wars. “Everywhere else, you’re outside.”
We gave them new information,” says Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. “Romney had been out there claiming success as governor,” but Democratic ads have prompted voters to “take a look at his record” on job creation and as head of the private-equity firm Bain Capital. Messina also credits a $25 million buy for a positive ad “about the challenges the president inherited and what we had to do to move this country forward.”
To be sure, Obama’s ads have done more to win back Democrats than to win over independents or Republicans: Thirteen percent of Democrats say their minds have been changed by ads, compared with 9% of independents and 3% of Republicans.
Romney pollster Neil Newhouse calls the findings unsurprising. “It is expected to find that more voters say their views have changed about Mitt Romney; they simply don’t know him all that well,” he says. “On the other hand, there are few voters who are going to say their views have changed about President Obama. They know him pretty damned well.”
Obama and his allies have outspent Romney’s side on ads so far by almost a third. Although the TV spots didn’t start earlier than in recent elections, there have been more than ever before — including a negative flood from the new breed of super PACs — and they are continuing without the traditional summertime letup.
In the 12 battleground states, the race is all but tied. Obama leads Romney 47%-45% among 1,200 registered voters in the poll June 22-29 — a tick closer than Obama’s 48%-44% lead among 2,404 voters in the rest of the USA over the same period.
The swing states survey focuses on a dozen states that aren’t firmly aligned with either Democrats or Republicans.
That puts them in a position to tip the outcome in the Electoral College. The states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The candidates expend enormous time and effort raising money in such cities as New York, Los Angeles and Houston so they can then spend most of that money on ads in such media markets as Colorado Springs, Orlando and Richmond, Va.
Their target: voters like Jessica Bruning, 28, of Holstein, Iowa.
“I don’t get a chance to see the news a lot,” Bruning, who was called in the USA TODAY Poll, said in a follow-up phone interview. “I have two kids and go to school and work. Seeing the ads every day helps me catch up. I see what they are going to do.”
What has she learned? That Obama has been pushing to keep student loan rates low — she’s attending community college to be certified as a welder, so that’s an important issue for her — and that Romney “wants to cut taxes for the rich people and raise them for the poor.”
“I don’t think that’s cool,” she says. She plans to vote for Obama.
Keep reading…Their target: voters like Jessica Bruning, 28, of Holstein, Iowa.