TV networks are expected to reap a huge financial harvest from 2012 campaign spending ads. And these ad wars will decide the 2012 election. A few important advertising spending dominoes are starting to fall into place right now. Mitt Romney is slowly limping to a narrow Republican nomination in the bruising GOP primary grueling road, while the Obama 2012 Campaign dramatically increased their On-line ad spending during January to $4.26 million, which is nearly as much as all of the 2011 $5.07 million total campaign spending. One advertising agency, Bully Pulpit Interactive appears to be the clearinghouse for most of the ads right now. It was founded by some members of the successful 2008 Obama campaign. A lot of the On-line advertising is for the Obama 2012 Campaign to raise up a giant warchest, now rumored to be around $96 million, to carpet bomb Mitt Romney’s campaign with Fall TV season ads promoting the president and citing the shortcomings of Romney. And this is especially bad news for Romney right now.
It is now rumored that the Romney campaign is short on cash, having spent massive amounts of money in a failed attempted to ward off his pesky challengers, chiefly Santorum and Gingrich. On Tuesday, Gingrich likely either wins or comes very close in both Alabama and Mississippi, which should only further stall the Romney drive for the Republican nomination. Further, the attacks by Gingrich have now raised Romney’s negatives to higher levels than his positives, making him seem less likely to be elected president. The GOP’s last candidate with higher negatives than positives was former Republican Senate leader Robert Dole, who fared poorly against the successful 1996 Bill Clinton re-election effort.
Although his record as president is certainly less than stellar, Obama still holds some huge advantages here. A nearly broke Romney Campaign will limp to the nomination and will likely be crushed in the general election by a massive advertising onslaught by the Obama 2012 Campaign, where even narrow wins in some key swing states such as Ohio or Florida will result in a large electoral college majority for the president, far in excess of the 270 electoral votes required to win.
Money will be the key to winning the White House in 2012. And Romney has spent way too much money way too soon. In some small states such as Iowa, Romney might have spent as much as $200 per vote just to lose the state by just 34 votes to a poorly financed Santorum Campaign, , and far worse, Romney is nearly certain to lose this state to Obama in the general election as well. The Romney Campaign hoped for a quick knock out blow to his opponents so that he could concentrate on the general election, instead opponents like Santorum and Gingrich are probably costing Romney the general election by draining his campaign of cash and raising new doubts about Romney, when neither Santorum or Gingrich have any clear path to win either the GOP nomination, let alone the general election.
If you don’t like political ads on TV, then this won’t be a very pleasant new Fall season coming up. Expect to see more political ads than ever as both the official and unofficial campaigns spend massive amounts of money on TV political ads like never before, just to have the same likely political outcome as we already have, President Obama.
But, Mitt Romney may hold a few aces of his own. If gas prices only continue to rise, and President Obama cannot offer a satisfactory explanation to Americans or relief at the pump by election day, Romney might be able to craft this key issue to his benefit. Further, while foreign policy has likely been President Obama’s strongest area of policy, the mission in Afghanistan has been going badly in the last few days due to the accidental burning of a Koran as well as the civilian massacre incident, both of which seriously threaten to undermine the mission in that country to weaken the Taliban or prevent al Qaeda from establishing strength to promote worldwide terrorism.