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A Bad Week for Obama

6:51 PM, Apr 14, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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ARG has Obama down 20 points, a number which serious observers seem to put almost no stock in beyond the fact that it would indicate a shift in momentum. Obama had been gaining in Pennsylvania for weeks, and all of a sudden a poll shows things moving in the other direction in a big way. The race is still probably very tight there, but Survey USA, which tends to be far more reliable than ARG, has Clinton gaining seven points in Indiana in just the last two weeks. According to their survey she's now up 16 points that state.

And besides insulting the very voters Obama needed to court, blue-collar Reagan Democrats, his involvement with shady slumlord Tony Rezko has been revived, and Rev. Wright has started sermonizing again.

Still, I think the most interesting of Obama's potential problems is overexposure.

Dick Bennett, head of the [ARG], told us today that even before the furor erupted, it appeared many Pennsylvania Democrats began to turn against Obama because they are simply sick and tired of seeing and hearing his ads...

Much as campaign consultants would be loath to agree, Bennett opined that a candidate "can spend too much money" on an ad campaign, and the saturation of Obama spots ... in Pennsylvania appear to be a classic example of "overkill" that ultimately does harm.

Bennett also reported that some of the Pennsylvanians who his company contacted went on to complain about the substance of the ubiquitous Obama ads. They are "about him, not voters or what their concerns are," Bennett said. And Obama's comment on attitudes in small towns served to reinforce that feeling.

I'm dubious that a politician can ever have too much money, but it would be ironic if his fundraising prowess hurt him in Pennsylvania. Also, the notion that Obama's ads are about him and not about the issues--well, that's pretty much what Clinton has been saying all along: Obama's campaign is 'just words.' So maybe she does win by more than ten points in PA and Indiana and Puerto Rico. In which case, the past week might have been a real turning point. Or maybe not.