GOP ads focus on Obama
The presidential primaries are only now just about to start, but conservatives investing money in politics have already bet their capital on the biggest return: defeating President Obama in the general election.
The shifting Republican nomination fight has been cheaper than a post-holiday sale compared with the 2008 race, but groups mobilizing against Obama are starting earlier than similar groups have in the past.
Spending on television advertising, traditionally the largest campaign expense by far, is dramatically lower than four years ago. In 2007, Republican candidates spent $33 million on television ads, according to estimates of ad spending created by Kantar Media. Democrats spent $40 million in 2007.
Kantar’s data show that all the Republicans in this year’s race, and the groups supporting them, had spent a combined $8 million through Monday — about a quarter of GOP spending in 2007.
While primary campaign spending is down, interest groups focused on defeating Obama are spending much earlier than the liberals who targeted President George W. Bush ahead of the 2004 election.
Republican groups with an eye toward capturing the White House have already spent more than $18 million on ads attacking Obama — more than twice as much as the entire GOP field. In the 2004 election cycle, the biggest liberal interest groups attacking Bush didn’t start spending on ads until March of the election year.
Karl Rove, a former Bush political adviser, emphasized the general election in a recent Web video for the conservative interest group American Crossroads, the biggest spender against Obama. Rove is helping run the group.
“We say it every election, but this time it’s true: 2012 is the most important election in 100 years, and I don’t say that lightly,” Rove says in the video. “We got a far more liberal, far more ideological president than we could have ever imagined. . . . We’ve got to fight to save our country.”
Even primary ads are heavily focused on Obama’s tenure. Data from Kantar show that almost half of the money spent was on ads pushing an anti-Obama message, making it the second-biggest issue tracked in the data after jobs.
...I suspect that the spending on anti Obama ads will pick up. The Republican field will probably shrink to two or three in the next month and I do not expect the spending to increase much in that time. Barring an impressive performance by a candidate like Rick Perry, there are few that can challenge Romney's fund raising.