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. Travis in St. Louis, MO

    No matter what the polls say, Missouri will very much be up for grabs right up until the polls close. It's strictly a matter of who will get out the vote here. Elections here are extremely close. Obama beat Clinton in the primary by less than 1%, and I predict the same margin for November. Both campaigns will have to fight hard to take this state. And remember, St. Louis has a large African-American population and the city is notoriously late in counting votes, so anyone who calls the state before midnight is a fool Just ask Hillary Clinton!

    October 2, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. Kab

    many of us wish Hillary was on the ticket as well. But know this, it can't be said now publicly by the Obama camp for obvious reasons....
    Hillary will have a very important role of her choosing when President Obama takes the reign in Jan 20th 2009. Obama needs Hillary and Bill to repair the mess of the last 8yrs. So not to worry, she is on board..
    Just Vote Obama/Biden and lets turn the "show me state" 🙂

    October 2, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. FL Voter

    Obama appears to have the better strategy and the support system behind him.

    I had never volunteered for a presidential campaign before, but we are doing our part in this critical swing state of FL. I would encourage my fellow Americans in Missouri and elsewhere to do what they can. This election is too important.

    Let's do this!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 2, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. BJGT

    Michigan today, Missouri tomorrow.

    Americans are not STOOPID, John McCain!

    October 2, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Dutch-VA

    Tucker, Cambell Brown is watching you. That should shiver your timbers. Tucker Bounds is a joke.

    October 2, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Kitty, Lees Summit, MO

    Wake up America! McCain is a fraud! Trying to make Palin memorized the right answers to questions that hopefully will be asked to her does not mean a person is knowlegable or does it??? DAHHHH!!

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 2, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Voice


    October 2, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Rick

    How about this ad: "Obama is up to his big ears in this democrat financial scandal as he is the second biggest beneficiary of Fannie Mae money in only 3 years time"?

    October 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Julie

    I'm from Missouri and I'm voting for OBAMA!!!!!!

    October 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. aware..........BUT SMARTER

    we in OHIO have already started voting and guess what?.....


    man, what a relief it is!

    October 2, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Maggie

    Nothing will stop this movement. Obama will be our next Commander in Chief.

    October 2, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Jay in MA

    @Rob –

    AMEN! I couldn't have said it any better.

    October 2, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. Basi

    I am from Cuba Obama is very bad for US

    October 2, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  14. FL Voter


    It is really disappointing that the McCain campaign has led their followers to believe blasphemy and belittling community volunteers are somehow acceptable discourse for a presidential campaign. It's not.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 2, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Jim from Middletown, CT

    Rob – and yet you seem to have no problem with Sarah Palin being a hearbeat away from the presidency of a 72+ year old man. I find that prospect just plain scary.

    October 2, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Basi

    Obama is very bad for US

    October 2, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. aware..........BUT SMARTER

    Patrick Henry,,,,....,,,,your voices are getting smaller and smaller.....what a shame your party is, and worst, the Pitiful Old Warmonger = pow

    October 2, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. karen-phoenix

    As a 40 year republican I'm sooo ashamed of McCain and the republican party for what they have done to MY country!!! McCain pull out!!! Obama/Biden understand that recovery will begin from the bottom up–jobs, jobs, and more jobs! THAT STAY IN THE USA!
    God bless Obama/Biden

    October 2, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. rita

    I think Obama should spend more in the "hot" states as we get closer to election day. That way his message will get through until the last vote is cast. It's ok for him to lay back now, because his presence in those states in his rallies are enough for now.

    I also think Obama should make himself available to the news media (cnn, etc), and get more of his message out now. It seems McCain is hitting all the political talk stations to give his views and (questionable facts) out to the public. We need to hear more from Obama.

    As far as the vp debate goes, I hope Biden buries Palin. She should not be treated with kid gloves, because if it were Hillary, you KNOW the republicans would not hold back.
    Good luck JOE! GO FOR IT!!

    PS. McCain please pack your bags and go to one of your homes. We've had enough.

    October 2, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Michigan Voter

    Dear Rob: There's a national economic crisis, people are losing their homes, and retirement accounts, unemployment is high, we're in an unresolved 'War On Terror' and a $Billions$ debacle in Iraq, and we have no energy policy and your logic tells you to vote for the same policies and insult those who disagree.

    Proud to be a Obama/Biden supporter.

    October 2, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    How much money did John McCain's son, Andrews McCain who was CEO of the failed Silver Bank, get as a parachute package when he left 2 months prior to it's calaspe. John McCain aka Keating 5 took Lincoln Savings and Loan for $3.6 billion dollars and taxpayers paid the bill. FACT.

    October 2, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. MikeH

    Heading into the final stretch.

    McCain lied again today when he said he suspended campaigning last week and pulled his ads. He did not, lie, lie, lie. Just like when he told Letterman he had to catch a flight back to Washington, and Letterman ended up putting the video feed of McCain, still in New York interviewing with Couric.

    It will be interesting to see if Palin tries to sneak her color-coded cue cards into her debate tonight.

    October 2, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. ohio

    mccain should cut himself from this world

    October 2, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Gypsy King

    I laugh at you John McCain,and say to you,"I never take it off now".

    October 2, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Paul

    quick call obama his taxpayer sellout is not working.
    what great leadership he is showing.
    leading to distruction!

    October 2, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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