How Significant Is McCain Cash Advantage?

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 16:37


The McCain campaign is now claiming what many of us election watchers have known all along. Since presidential candidates can coordinate with party committees, McCain and the Republicans actually have more cash on hand than Obama and the Democrats. From a McCain conference call earlier today:

On a conference call just now with reporters, Rick Davis said that the campaign currently has over $26 million on hand, plus the RNC's over $67 million. They expect to have a total of $210 million between September and Election Day alone -- and a total budget of over $400 million for the pre-convention and general-election cycle.

For comparison, the current McCain/RNC total is about twice the combined Obama/DNC cash figure through the end of May, though the June numbers from after Obama sewed up the nomination have yet to be released.

McCain and the Republicans are not just sitting on this cash either, as they are also significantly outspending Obama on paid advertisements:

"We have spent up until last week probably over $10 million more than Obama has in the last two months on television advertising," Davis said, adding: "From April to this point, we've spent almost three times the amount of TV spending that Obama has."

However, what does a $10 million advantage mean when the entire campaign is taken into account? The reason I ask is that, as of May 31st, Obama had already spent just over $107 million on paid media during this campaign, while McCain had only spent just over $18 million. In other words, Obama has already invested $89 million more in paid media to define his image than John McCain. It is hard to imagine that McCain, even with RNC assistance, will ever make up such a large gap.

It should also be noted that Obama only has to raise $86 million from September 4th through Election Day in order to outraise McCain during that time period. Given that there is typically a dramatic increase in campaign fundraising during the final two months of the election, especially for candidates with large small donor bases, the Obama campaign will surpass that total without breaking a sweat. So, it isn't clear that Republicans and McCain will maintain this edge during the entire election.

There is also the question of just how effective paid advertising actually is in the general election matchup. Looking at the McCain vs. Obama national polling chart, two events clearly had far more impact than any paid advertising could ever hope to accomplish:


First, Obama's numbers dropped precipitously during the Reverend Wright episode. Second, his numbers grew rapidly immediately after securing the nomination on June 3rd. These free media events had a much larger impact on the campaign than paid media.

Now, it still isn't great that McCain and the RNC have a joint fundraising and current paid advertising advantage. No matter the situation, it isn't great to be outspent on the airwaves, and to have less money than your opponent. Still, I just wanted to provide some perspective, arguing that the current Republican edge isn't quite as bad as it appears.

Chris Bowers :: How Significant Is McCain Cash Advantage?

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RNC .. (4.00 / 1)
you have to remember .. Commander Codpiece can still raise ungodly sums for the RNC .. so that is a problem .. can all that money overcome things if the economy is still in the tank come November? .. I don't know

There won't be any attack ads (4.00 / 4)

 Barack Obama's surrender on FISA ensures that there will be no Republican attacks on his patriotism and national security credentials this fall. The point of his capitulation was to defuse the issue, and guarantees the Republicans will only be positive from now on. After all, that's the way it always works.

 So the cash advantage doesn't really matter. It's all honey and roses now that Obama and the Democrats gave Bush all he wanted on FISA.

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


Huh? (0.00 / 0)
Your post seems naive. Do you think the swiftboating of Kerry was a matter of issues?

[ Parent ]
I'm thinking and hoping (0.00 / 0)
that there was subtle irony at work.

[ Parent ]
No sadly I think it reflects a certain naivette (0.00 / 0)
about how the GOP uses character issues, and how we regularly act in a manner which leaves us vulnerable. We are only lucky that Obama is winning the spin war in that it's being called a move to the center. I can only hope that continues.  

[ Parent ]
Must have been too subtle (4.00 / 1)

 Visualize a massive snark tag.

 

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
okay (0.00 / 0)
that's cool. that's what I get for waiting for a phone call and typing.

[ Parent ]
Wasn't that subtle (4.00 / 1)
on a second reading. This is a giveaway.

The point of his capitulation was to defuse the issue, and guarantees the Republicans will only be positive from now on. After all, that's the way it always works.

Rec'd, then.


[ Parent ]
It was clear to me (4.00 / 1)
I sure am excited about a nice, clean, intellectually honest election process!

[ Parent ]
Can't you tell snark when you see it? (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
As I pointed out at Kos (0.00 / 0)
Combining the McCain numbers with what the RNC has raised is deceptive. The RNC might be flush with cash but you can't count all that for McCain because they are going to have to help out their House and Senate committee's which are being thrashed in CoH by the DCCC and DSCC.

I think the argument is that they will (4.00 / 2)
possibly see the Presidency as the only real chance where they can retain national power for the next few years, and, therefore, may forego any real effort to spend on Congressional races.  

[ Parent ]
The bulk maybe to McCain (0.00 / 0)
But they aren't going to just give up on the entire congress. They will have a firewall somewhere.

[ Parent ]
Even if they do a significant amount (0.00 / 0)
it defuses any money advantage people thought Obama would have. Also, as David says below, the problem with what Obama has been doing the last few weeks is that he's been hurting himself with the people most likely to give him money. He may win what Bowers calls the media primary, but I can't see how going center helps in a change year with enthusiasm for donating scarce campaign dollars. We shall see.

[ Parent ]
Lets just wait and see what the fundraising numbers are like shall we (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Whatever they are (0.00 / 0)
they aren't going to be markedly better than what the GOP is predicting for McCain at the upper levels of what was being predicted. I am happy to be wrong on this. Regardless of my issues with Obama , I want him to kick Mccain and the GOp crazies to the curb.

[ Parent ]
Whatever they are (0.00 / 0)
they aren't going to be markedly better than what the GOP is predicting for McCain at the upper levels of what was being predicted. I am happy to be wrong on this. Regardless of my issues with Obama , I want him to kick Mccain and the GOp crazies to the curb.

[ Parent ]
So good you wrote it twice? (0.00 / 0)
Sorry couldn't resist!

[ Parent ]
why does it keep doing that anyway? (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Dunno (4.00 / 1)
Happened to me a couple of times but not recently. I get problem unknown when I preview a comment. Computing isn't exactly my strong suit. Of course some might say politics isn't either!

[ Parent ]
Upcoming European trip (4.00 / 4)
Means more free media for Obama, hopefully enthusiastic crowds and being treated like a future head of state.

Obama seems to be regaining his footing, too.   Look at his response to Phil Gramm's comment about being in a "mental recession"  "This country  already has one Dr Phil--we don't need another."  Contrast with McCain.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.


When does he go to Iraq? (0.00 / 0)
The first press conference after he visits Iraq is gonna ha-yuge.

[ Parent ]
Let's hope this doesn't (4.00 / 1)
continue.

But that has come with a price worth noting. Not surprising is the drop in intense positives among liberals, liberal Democrats and white young voters, as we can see in the graph below. More worrisome is the broader drop in intense responses on key attributes -"on your side" (describes "very well" dropped from 27 to 21 percent), "strong leader" (dropped from 31 to 26 percent), and "will bring the right kind of change" (dropped from 28 to 24 percent). Overall, only 51 percent say Obama is "on your side" (down 4 points) and only 52 percent say he will "will bring the right kind of change" (unchanged). Obama seems to have lost some definition in this transition, and he has only just begun to articulate the change in ways that engage voters.

I can't imagine why liberals would be less enthused.

Dampened enthusiasm means less $$$, oui?

http://www.democracycorps.com/...


Wake Up (0.00 / 0)
Chris poses a question and the commenters act as if it's an affront and rationalize.

It's a BIG problem. Problems need to be solved and this one can only be solved if donors, large and small, really come through for Obama.

The marvelous pundit class that ya'll excoriate most of the time said Obama would have a big edge by backing out of public funding in the general. He might raise as much as $500 million was the hyperbolic rhetoric. Speculation. Not Bank. Just fodder for the pundits' tut-tut stories.

Today, the McCain campaign shows it will have at least $400 million. Good evidence for tat claim sinc ethey have nearly half that in hand or guaranteed.

Obama has no PACs. No lobbyists bundling. No $84 million gaurantted from our taxes. Huge shortfall in DNC vs. RNC warchests. Under pressure to raise money to retire Clinton primary debt still.

Audacity of hope: that Obama can match McCain dollars.

Visit DebateScoop for political candidate debate news and analysis.


Obama burned himself with some of us (0.00 / 0)
I'll contribute to other Dems and I'll work on general GOTV, but when a candidate says to me "screw the Constitution; I want the power to snoop" he doesn't get my money.  

Can it happen here?

[ Parent ]
FISA Impact? (0.00 / 0)
I wonder if Obama's vote for FISA will impact donations (at least in the near term)?
Maybe the moderate pick-ups will more than make up any reductions.

Been thinking about that myself (0.00 / 0)
I don't think it will since it doesn't seem to be an issue that is resonating outside of the netroots but it is possible I guess.

[ Parent ]
i understand that this means it's more likely that obama will win (4.00 / 1)
...and that's good.

but doesn't anyone else fear how much influence this will give money over Obama/the Democrats?


but wait a minute: (0.00 / 0)
is this true?
Given that there is typically a dramatic increase in campaign fundraising during the final two months of the election, especially for candidates with large small donor bases...

isn't Obama the first presidential nominee to opt out of public financing in the general election since the inception of the system in 1976? So how do we know if fundraising increases dramatically in the final two months? Are we working with numbers from 1972 or earlier? Or are we looking at the history of Congressional and Gubernatorial races?

Or maybe the increase you are talking about is donations to the DNC and RNC?

I don't really doubt that donations will increase post-convention, but I wonder where the data is.


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