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The leading super PAC allied to President Obama — Priorities USA — is shifting $4.5 million it previously had allocated to buy television advertising in Florida and Wisconsin and sending the funds to other battleground states where the races remain tight.
The group plans to buy additional airtime in Iowa, Nevada, Colorado and Virginia, where polls report Obama’s lead over Republican nominee Mitt Romney remains slight, according to the latest surveys of voter sentiment. Priorities senior strategist Bill Burton, a former Obama White House aide, told the New York Times that Priorities USA will continue to air ads in the Orlando and West Palm Beach markets in Florida and the Green Bay market in Wisconsin.
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“We are not leaving any states,” Burton said. “Based on our extensive polling and targeting data, in some states we are shifting efforts into some (other) key markets.”
The critical strategic shift of resources was made possible by what appears to be a Democratic ad campaign that many analysts believe has outflanked the GOP, which was expected to dramatically outspend the Democrats because of its formidable array of deep-pocket super PACs and Romney’s fund-raising abilities.
However, according to data collected by Kantar Media/CMAG and reported by the New York Times on Wednesday, shrewd early purchases of local television advertising time in the key battleground states — including Florida and Wisconsin — have allowed the Obama campaign and its allies to air seven commercials for every five aired by Romney and his supporters.
In Florida, the Democratic margin was particularly pronounced. So far, the president’s campaign and its backers have aired 13,000 TV ads, 50 percent more than the Romney camp. Moreover, their themes — Romney’s stand on Medicare and outsourcing jobs, along with his alleged insensitivity to the middle class — have struck a chord with Florida voters.
Similar Democratic margins in earlier buys — which also are cheaper than purchases late in an election cycle — also have helped Obama open wide margins in Ohio and Romney’s home state of Massachusetts as well as widening his lead in Virginia.
The Kantar Media data also suggests that the Obama campaign’s careful targeting of its TV ad buys has worked to its advantage. The re-election campaign and its allies, for example, have gone after women voters — among whom the president already enjoys a substantial edge — by buying airtime during the soaps and popular daytime talk shows like ABC’s The View.
Similarly, it has gone after young men — a group whose political participation traditionally is tepid — with ads on ESPN and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. So far, the Obama campaign and its allies have purchased twice as much time on cable as the Romney effort has, according to Kantar Media.
The Romney camp plans to launch its own television advertising blitz following Wednesday night’s domestic policy debate — the first of three scheduled between the nominees. The challenger’s campaign already has booked $2 million in airtime in Nevada and $1 million in buys in Iowa. The conservative group American Crossroads, the pro-Romney super PAC directed by Republican strategist Karl Rove, said Tuesday that it will pour an additional $11 million into the key swing states between now and Election Day.
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