July 16th, 2008
06:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama, indeed, is making a red state play

Obama is making a run at several states Bush won in 2004.
Obama is making a run at several states Bush won in 2004.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Critics sneered when Barack Obama vowed to challenge John McCain in states that traditionally have been Republican strongholds. But a review of early television advertising spending shows that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is making robust buys in a handful of “red states.”

So far, Obama has spent $60,000 in Alaska; $3.5 million in Florida; $1.3 million in Georgia; $1 million in Indiana; $100,000 in Montana; $1 million in North Carolina; and $1.8 million in Virginia, according to a new analysis by TNS/Campaign Media Analysis Group, CNN’s political television advertising consultant.

“Obama’s targeting of these red states is unprecedented,” said Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of CMAG. “He is clearly looking to expand the playing field.”

In all, McCain has outspent Obama - $23 million to $19 million – on political television advertising when you look at these figures through the lens of the general election. To be fair, McCain has had a head start – CMAG’s point of reference for McCain’s general election buys is mid-May and the Republican National Committee accounts for $3 million of the McCain total.

So what other states are the candidates targeting? The traditional battlegrounds where Democrats and Republicans take their political war every four years: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Missouri.

Michigan: McCain, $2.6 million to Obama’s $1.6 million; Ohio: McCain, $3.2 million to Obama’s $1.7 million; Pennsylvania: McCain, $4.2 million to Obama’s $2.7 million. Additionally, McCain has dropped $1.5 million into Missouri and another $1.9 million on national cable.

Obama is expected to have a greater financial advantage over McCain in the closing months after the presumptive Democratic nominee announced he would forgo public financing. If Obama’s red state ad spending is successful over the summer this could enhance his standing heading into the post convention period when McCain will be limited to $85 million. Conversely, if McCain is able to successfully beat back Obama’s efforts in red states over the next two months, the advantage Obama has in purchasing airtime will be diminished. A smaller battleground is to McCain’s advantage.

And as for the unregulated 527’s and other third party groups – they are now just starting to show their teeth.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Cathy

    The electoral map will be revamped and I see a lot of red states going blue.

    Obama '08!!!!

    July 16, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. GO GET EM !!!!!!

    Obama’s targeting of these red states is unprecedented,” said Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of CMAG. “He is clearly looking to expand the playing field............”Turn EM BLUE.........YES YOU CAN!!!!

    July 16, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. Philly Abe

    Its about time the Republicans are put on the defensive. The RNC may have more money, but Virginia is slipping away. Others may well follow.

    July 16, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. Griff

    Black in the Red!! Good....

    July 16, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. The Blind Lady of Justice

    Virginia, North Carolina & Georgia will become part of the new electoral map over the next 8 years.

    July 16, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Kim

    Why should'nt Rock Obama expect to get votes in the red states? They are loseing their jobs too.

    July 16, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. California Gold

    How refreshing to experience a candidate who values all voters in all states, unlike Rudy Guiliani who decided he didn't need to waste time with the voters in the primary and put all his eggs in Florida's basket.

    July 16, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. 1985 Cavalier

    What has George Bush done for Virginia in the past 8 years?

    What logical reason would Virginians have to vote for the GOP?

    Hell yeah the state is in play

    July 16, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. DJ, LA, CA

    Good strategy...makes a lot of sense. Don't waste time in the liberal stronghold states. Win over the red states...show them your plan and they will vote for HOPE....not McBush III.

    July 16, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. steven

    Breaking News;

    U.S. reverses course, will send envoy to talk with Iran

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "believes it's a smart step to take. There is no change in the substance but it sends a strong signal," McCormack said. "It sends a strong signal to our P5+1 partners. It sends a strong signal to the world. It sends a strong signal to the Iranian government that the United States is committed to diplomacy, to finding a diplomatic solution to this issue."

    This is the same type of direct diplomacy that Obama was refering to.
    It's ok now?

    Obama Not So Stupid After All!

    July 16, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. whiner

    i'm glad i'm set in my vote for obama.i can send my monthly donation,knowing his stands on the issues,and his fortitude to stick to them,with intelligence and the country's interests,at heart.i will mute the tv every time i see mccain or a republican ad,and imagine an america at its best ,with obama as president,and all the lies and negative attacks the gop will bombard us with,will disappear in a puff of smoke.DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY GOP,IT WILL NOT WORK,EVER AGAIN!

    July 16, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. obama is unfit to be president of this country

    No, you will not get white Georgia. You are a disgrace and completely unfit to run this country you whinny little man.

    July 16, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  13. Biff Biffington

    The office title is NOT President of the Red States

    The office title is NOT President of the Blue States

    But President of the UNITED States.....

    imagine that.... if you can.....

    THAT "my friends".... is CHANGE.....

    July 16, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. Democrats Unite & Vote Big

    No big surprise here. People are going to vote for the candidate that they perceive to be the best choice – End of Story. Obama wouldn't be seeking all the states' votes unless there was a strong interest shown in his campaign by blue and previously red states alike.

    July 16, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Go ahead Obama, you can do it. We are all behind you.

    July 16, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  16. Obama the Vote

    We should turn all the Red state and Blue state to Purple state. :-D

    July 16, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. A Woman In California For Obama

    This is very smart thinking. Just because they traditionally are red states does not mean they can't go blue. He is also banking on the new voters in these states. This is a good strategy and a good indication of thinking outside the box. He is definitely keeping the republicans up at night.

    July 16, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  18. Bobby Knight (USMA)

    The election of Senator Obama to the Presidency will restore honor to America around the world.

    The United States will have a leader that is respected for his intellect, competence and humility.

    The United States will reclaim its place as a Superpower that leads by example and draws coalitions together to face threats to world peace, world energy and world climate challenges.

    The United States will have a National Security Strategic Plan, an Energy Policy Strategic Plan, a Monetary Policy Strategic Plan, a Domestic Strategy Plan. For the 1st time in a long time we will be a PROACTIVE LEADER and not a REACTIVE FOLLOWER of world events.

    Virginia ... vote for the Smarter Guy....

    July 16, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  19. California Voter

    Buying an election. . . . how American. Obama has an excellent campaign team, but does that make him the most qualified to be President the the United States? In these troubled economic times where's the experience. Oh, sorry, we want CHANGE not EXPERIENCE!

    July 16, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  20. Cynthia

    Senator Obama should try and put as many states as possible into play.

    July 16, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  21. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    those states are FINALLY wising up to see that THEY are the ones that suffer the most under the horrible, crooked repugs.

    the map will be a beautiful ocean of blue come november. waaayyy too blue for the repugs to steal the election this year!!!!!!!

    July 16, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. Gorbashov

    It's called 'The United States of America'........and we are all hurting after nearly 8 years under this criminal enterprise!

    We all need change for the better!

    July 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. KMAN

    After all ... WE ARE supposed to be the UNITED States!

    Obama '08

    July 16, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. Glad to be an Independent

    Obama's strategy is the right strategy. Both parties do people in many states a disservice by not challenging in every state. So what if a state has traditionally been a red or blue state. Go after it anyway. You may not win the state this election but the candidate could help their party gain more support for future elections. You can not get support in a state if you do not first ask for it. Obama may win some of the red states that people did not expect him to win.

    July 16, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  25. Tina, NC

    He is going to win NC!

    All the Republicans can't stand McCain here.

    July 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
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