Seven days ago, President Obama led Mitt Romney by 3.1 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average of recent polling. One week (and one debate) later, Romney now leads Obama by 1.1 points — a swing of 4.2 points in Romney’s favor. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that, for the first time, Romney will outspend Obama on the airwaves: “Mr. Romney will spend about $16.8 million on television ads this week, according to ad-tracking data provided by media buyers, while Mr. Obama will spend about $15.5 million, down 30% from a week earlier, when the campaign spent heavily to air a two-minute, pre-debate spot.”
The Journal writes, “When spending by independent super PACs is included, the mismatch is wider. Mr. Romney and his allies will combine for $31.4 million this week, compared with $19.7 million for Mr. Obama and his supporters, according to data from one media tracker.” The Journal adds, “The GOP advantage represents an additional fillip for Mr. Romney, who is riding a post-debate wave that has seen his poll numbers improve as the race enters its final stage.”
Spending by the campaigns themselves is particularly important, however, as “candidates sometimes pay local TV stations less than half what super PACs are charged.” The Journal reports, “Until now, the Obama camp had outspent the Romney campaign.”
According to USA Today, from September 9 to September 30, a span covering the first three weeks after the Democratic National Convention, Obama and his allies ran 32 percent more television ads in swing states than Romney and his allies ran. This week’s ad expenditures will therefore cause quite a shift from Obama’s past advantage.
Romney’s recent purchase includes “a roughly $1 million advertising buy this week in Wisconsin.”