October 2nd, 2008
01:54 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama, McCain cutting commercials in Missouri

Both campaigns have decreased spending on commercials in Missouri.

Both campaigns have decreased spending on commercials in Missouri.

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) – As the battle for the swing state of Missouri heat up, both presidential campaigns seem to be retreating from the airwaves here.

Over the past few weeks, Barack Obama and John McCain both decreased spending on campaign commercials in Missouri, site of tonight’s vice presidential debate – a confusing move, given the crucial 11 electoral votes on the line in this bellwether state.

Twenty-four hours ago, recent polling and other factors prompted the CNN Political Team to officially change the state’s status on the CNN Electoral Map from “lean McCain” to “tossup.”

But the good news for Obama comes as his campaign has decreased its ad spending in the “Show Me State” by about $24,000 from the third week in September to the fourth week, according to an analysis for CNN of campaign commercials in Missouri by TNSMI-Campaign Media Analysis Group. There is an even more dramatic cut apparent from the second week of September to the month’s final seven days: over that period, the campaign’s ad spending in the state dropped from $456,000 to $332,000.

For his part, McCain’s high-level mark for ad spending in Missouri in September came during the second week, when he spent more than $286,000. But the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign cut spending to just a hair over $96,000 in the month’s final week. While McCain was off the air for two days that week after announcing he would be suspending his campaign, his spending on ads has been on an overall downward trajectory here – a point his campaign spokesman acknowledges.

“There is no question Barack Obama has greater resources in this campaign, but John McCain’s record of making change and reforming government will be able to break through in states like Missouri,” said Tucker Bounds, McCain’s spokesman. “There is a threshold of support for John McCain in the state of Missouri that will hold, and strategically speaking we are allocating our resources throughout the country wherever they are most effective.”

A spokesman for Obama refused to discuss the campaign’s ad spending strategy.

So why has the needle moved in Obama’s direction in Missouri at the same time he has decreased his ad spending? The campaign may not be talking, but a few likely factors jump out.

First, McCain’s reduction in ad spending has given Obama the room to cut his own buy, said Evan Tracey, CMAG’s chief operating officer and CNN’s political advertising consultant. Second, CNN Polling Director Keating Holland suggests that McCain is suffering politically from the financial crisis and by being tied to President Bush. Specifically, in the agricultural state of Missouri, farmers operate on credit, which has been frozen - and recent retirees, who have yet to move their money out of the stock market, might be laying blame for the current crisis on the president’s party.

Still, Obama’s ad spending in Missouri appears to run counter to his overall ad strategy.

“The state of Missouri is going against his national trends where we have seen steady rises across the board in battleground states,” Tracey says. “In Missouri, it has been sort of flat.”

Given the recent movement in the polls that seems to signal the state is within reach, perhaps Obama will reverse course and pour more money in the closing weeks into the “Show Me State.”

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

    The fact is McCain is just going to Hope and Pray he pulls out Missouri, he needs to pull money out somewhere so that he can try and compete in FL and OH, bad move because even thought his state tends to be conservative people vote with their wallets in mind.

    October 2, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown

    Cranky old fart!

    October 2, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. david

    Hey, I know McCain suspended his campaign. So when did he restartt it again? I havent seen the press conference yet

    October 2, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  4. Casper

    Sarah will wear her hair down tonight to hide the earpiece wired from under the bandage on her hand. You heard it here first...

    October 2, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Helene

    Susan : I also wish Hillary was chosen but this is not the case. The important issue in front of us is to follow Hillary's wishes : To elect Obama. Let's not lose sight of the importance of this election,

    October 2, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. Lisa, MI

    If John had spent half the time he's spending on this campaign with his first three kids, he'd be the better man. But he did not, and he is not the better man. He left his wife and kids to have several rolls in the hay with that beer bimbo, Cindy Lou. Now he wants us to forget about that part of his past and think about the WAR HERO part. Hello? What hero, he's a zero for leaving his wife and kids.

    Okay America, if you want some angry-guilt ridden man at the nuclear button, vote for McBulldozer, and his trophies–Cindy and Sarah.

    I'm voting for the man who had one wife and did NOT leave his kids to have an affair.

    October 2, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. Super D

    If you are Obama the socialist, why spend money in this state?

    You're already commiting voter fraud in Ohio with ACORN. So let's just get that Democrat Machine over to Mizzou and start registering dead people and children to go vote for the socialist.

    October 2, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Tom in CA

    John McCain is pulling out of Michigan. An interesting move only a month away from Election Day. This indicates the difficulty McCain is having in finding states to put in play.

    Are departures from Missouri and Indiana next?

    October 2, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Republican Supporters in the Dark

    Prediction: McCain campaign is going to (is already in free fall) crash and burn, then sink like a 100 ton lead ball into an abyss, never to return. Ta-taa.

    October 2, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. tulsa

    my two cents.

    The next time McCain says "He doesn't understand...", The jr Senator from IL. should look him in the eye (if McCain would LOOK him in the eye) and say;
    "Senator, I have been respectful, courtious and patient with you. I have given you due when you deserved it. That is how I am and that is how the President of the United States should be. But now I have to say that it is YOU who don't understand. You have lied and been disrespectful to Senator Biden and myself and in truth, to this Nation. You sir are WRONG. The fact you are sinking in the polls is due to your incompetence in everything you have done in this campaign. Not because "life is not fair".

    As for Palin, Joe, ignore her and address McCain. You know him as well or better than anyone in the Senate. You are honest, he is not.

    October 2, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. KJL

    McCain is starting to whine, while Obama delivers his message. McCain should go home to one of his many houses and enjoy life, and leave politics to the grown-ups.

    October 2, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. aware


    Obama and his smooth talk sure can shmooze the fans he wants to manipulate! But, his values are not mainstream American values! 😦

    Vote for McCain/Palin 08 if you want the authentic reform and straight talk America needs! They will deliver for a better America! 🙂

    October 2, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Bulldog

    The McCain camp tried to paint the picture of Palin from the start as this "perfect" person who would swoop in and do wonderful things. However, as facts continue to come out on her and we hear her actually talk without a teleprompter we are repainting that picture of her. She is not the person the McCain camp tried to portray. She has 2 ethics investigations going on against her in Alaska, she received gifts from lobbyist and other special interest people, she charged per diem to stay in her own home, and just yesterday a new poll in Alaska shows her approval rating dropping by double digits. The McCain camp was successful at first of their portrayal but the media is doing there job to tell us the real story and the McCain camp is angry about it.

    October 2, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Rob

    Can we spell LOSER ! They are lucky he's leaving them alone .Wish he'd leave everyone alone

    October 2, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. EBC, Boyds, MD

    MISSOURI better WAKE UP AND SMELL THE JAVA!! Sen. McCain is selling nothing but "snow balls". He's been lying through his dentures this man. I hope and pray Missourians are SMARTER than the average "pitt bulls".

    Missouri has a LOT to lose if McCain is elected bottom line. He will discard Missourians when he gets in the White House. Bottom line.

    October 2, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Amy

    "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

    OUCH!! I'd like to see that in a commercial and see how the McCain campaign tries to spin it since McCain is on the record admiring Dramesi.

    October 2, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. LB

    The people in Missouri are to smart to vote for McCain and his new Barbie doll Palin. The people in Missouri work hard for their money and they don't want to lose it if McCain should get elected, especially with Palin standing right behind him. Oh I forgot, Palin is in front and John is standing at her behind.

    October 2, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. AD

    This Tucker guy's got a great imagination. Record of making change and reforming government? It'd be funny if not for the seriousness of the upcoming election.

    October 2, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Stan Parker

    This site has vicious comments. Beware!

    October 2, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. aware

    McCain leads – Obama follows! 🙂

    October 2, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Al, San Francisco, CA

    McCain is a fine senator. He is no Bush. He did a lot for the country. That's what they say and I believe. But I am voting Obama. I want to see what this young guy has to offer. Otherwise I will always regret.

    October 2, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Stan Parker

    McCain for President. One who has bucked the system and will do so again.

    October 2, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  23. Mizzou

    McCain is on the ropes. And he knows it. Palin doesn't. She is clueless.

    October 2, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  24. MLG

    I'm happy for the people in Missouri.

    October 2, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. ncharge

    I too would like to see Palin bring together a few coherent sentences without looking for the answers on her que cards. I hope they let her talk so she can babble on about nothing. Bidden needs to stick with the issues....and counter her when she says something dumb.

    October 2, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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