Campaign TV ad spending by state, June 3rd through July 26th
In its famous online strategy briefing, the McCain campaign claimed that Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington were swing states. Clearly, that was a lie, since the report was released on June 9th, at which point McCain had begun his advertising in every single state listed above, except New Hampshire and Virginia. They never had any intention of running ads in those states. Kind of makes you wonder if the McCain campaign will tell the truth about anything.
More thoughts on these numbers in the extended entry.
Lots of interesting observations to be had in these numbers:
Obama is clearly absolutely serious about winning Indiana, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, as he spent $10M in ads in those states during a five week period running from June 20th to July 26th. I don't think the Georgia spending is a good idea, given that he isn't closing the gap there. Otherwise, it seems smart and effective.
Obama is contesting a much broader range of states than McCain. Of the twenty states listed here, Obama is competing in all twenty, while McCain is only competing in fourteen. The one possible exception in Minnesota, where Obama's tiny ad buy is effectively the same as not competing in the state.
McCain is using a smaller concentration of states to stay ahead in states where he is competing. Of the fourteen states where he is running ads, McCain has outspent Obama in eleven of them.
McCain's ads are spread out over a longer period of time. One thing not shown here is that McCain went up on the air earlier than Obama, usually by at least twelve days, in all of the states where he is advertising. This means that McCain's narrow spending advantages probably mean fewer total ads since June 20th, when Obama began to air ads across these twenty states.
McCain is on the defensive in Virginia. The one exception to the bullet point directly above this one is Virginia, where McCain only went on the air on July 8th, eighteen days after Obama began airing ads in the state. Clearly, McCain now feels vulnerable in Virginia, even though his campaign once dismissed it as a solid red state.
It is also notable that McCain is spending money in North Dakota, which shows that state is clearly in play.