Political Animal


March 13, 2012 11:49 AM Romney Air Superiority—Again

By Ed Kilgore

If Mitt Romney wins in Alabama and/or Mississippi tonight, you will hear a lot of talk about GOP elected officials in these two states supporting Mitt, Republicans voting for Mitt because they are unhappy with the extended nominating contest, and the division of the non-Romney vote between Gingrich and Santorum.

All of these could indeed be factors in a Romney win. But let’s don’t forget the role played by Mitt’s best friend, the Almighty Dollar.

The available estimates of ad investments in the two states by the campaigns (very little) and their Super-PACs (a lot) all show that Romney is again dominating the airwaves.

Bloomberg’s Greg Giroux has a roundup based on data from the media tracking outfit CMAG:

Restore Our Future, a super-PAC backing Romney, aired ads 2,098 times in Alabama through March 11, compared with 279 spots from Romney’s campaign, according to CMAG.
Winning Our Future, which supports Gingrich, aired ads 411 times in Alabama, compared with 131 ads by Gingrich’s campaign. Santorum’s campaign hasn’t aired broadcast ads in Alabama; the Red White and Blue Fund that backs him aired ads 282 times.
In Mississippi, Restore Our Future paid for 1,548 ads, compared with 454 for Winning Our Future and 300 for Red White and Blue Fund, CMAG data show. Gingrich, with 89 spots, is the only candidate who has aired broadcast ads in Mississippi.
Restore Our Future aired 65 percent of all ads in Alabama and Mississippi, CMAG data show.

For those keeping score at home, this adds up to a 4-1 pro-Romney ratio over Gingrich in Alabama, and nearly 3-1 in Mississippi. Team Romney outgunned Santorum’s Super-PAC over 7-1 in Alabama and more than 5-1 in Mississippi.

An AP estimate of ad dollars showed Romney’s Restore Our Future spending $1.42 in Alabama (supplemented by $233,000 by the campaign itself) and $973,000 in Mississippi. That compares with a combined pro-Gingrich $538,000 in AL and $250,000 in MS, with Santorum’s Super-PAC spending $275,00 in AL and $235,000 in MS.

Any way you slice it, Mitt’s message is visiting television sets a lot more often than both major opponents combined. So yeah, it wouldn’t be a big shock if he gets a third of the vote and claims victory.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ronald on March 13, 2012 12:03 PM:

    every dollar Romney spends on places where he should be able to win without those ad buys is a dollar he doesn't have for the general election.

    Keep up the good work, Willard.

  • Rick B on March 13, 2012 12:11 PM:

    So the requirement for getting the Republican nomination for President is that the candidate be known in the party, have tons of money himself and in superPacs, and be slightly less odious than the other clowns running.

    There is no need to be honest (probably in fact a disqualifier as are any other moral limitations) and no need to have any governing ideas since the entire process is run on sound bites generated by advertising and PR people.

    Oh, and be running against an incumbent President during an economic recession created by the Republican Party through policies that made good sound bites during the previous Republican administration.

    The only hard part is getting access to the money.

  • Lucia on March 13, 2012 12:11 PM:

    Ronald's comment is an excellent reminder to stay focused on the big picture, but I still have a dumb question: why do TV campaign ads work? Do voters not know that even the most basic research they might do is a better source of info on a candidate (or rival candidates) than a paid ad? Even softball Faux News interviews would be better. And don't voters get ticked off if they see one or more ads for the same candidate in every single commercial break? I know I do.

  • lb 22 on March 13, 2012 12:26 PM:

    I thought his $10,000 bet gaffe was the perfect metaphor for the man. Not just because his willingness to make such a large bet shows that he lives in a completely different world, but because it was about using vast wealth to win.

    If you offer a bet to an opponent about who is factually correct, but then make the amount so large that your opponent could not match it, it is like you win the bet by default, whether or not the truth is on your side. It is the same with his campaign, spend seven times as much money as all your opponents put together and you will win, it doesn't matter what reality or truth is. (Not that any of his opponents have had more than a one-night-stand with the truth in their whole lives.}

  • california_idiot on March 13, 2012 12:37 PM:

    Surely you mean $1.42 million in Alabama.

  • Diane Rodriguez on March 13, 2012 1:42 PM:

    Is anyone who hasn't already made a candidate selection swayed by the constant 1 minute noise blurbs? Yeesh - I get to the point where I mute the spots for people I want to vote for. Seems simple, either you buy into the candidate or not.

    MSNBC pundit yesterday with a great observation describing Romney campaigning in the South "Romney is acting like he's on Safari". How's that for a dog whistle on the left!!!!!

    capcha: ishowedi bacon. I prefer applewood

  • JM917 on March 13, 2012 2:17 PM:

    Is there any research on how low-information, "last-minute" voters make up their minds? Could it be that the sheer number of times a given name has been dinned into that person's head--whether by TV spots or billboards or yard signs as he/she is driving to the polling place, or simply by the last name that's been thrown at him/her--is the major determinant on what vote winds up getting cast?

    If that's the case, then Romney wins on the sheer volume of noise his campaign generates, drowning out the competition.

    Of course, it helps that none of these competitors has anything intelligent to say, or that contradicts said low-information voter's Weltanschauung.

  • Connie Snyder on March 13, 2012 3:01 PM:

    I want the list of every state and how much it cost those vulture capitalists financing the "Restore Our Future" pac for Romney to buy each state for their hand-picked candidate. America is for sale, kiddos. But how much will Romney pay for yours? Mine? The whole country? When Americans stop salivating over money and spectacle, maybe our country can get back to being a democracy again. What a sickening sideshow this GOP primary is!