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

Obama, indeed, is making a red state play

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/16/art.va.gi.jpg caption="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. Miguel

    John McCain would have been a great candidate, but he can't even remember his own voting record (Viagra question reference). Like I said before, McCain is becoming dumber by the second, basically, that's how George W. Bush won the Presidency by lowering expectations.

    It's official, John McCain has become John W. McBush, and the jokes are not funny so stop it. The economy and International relations is a serious matter.

    July 16, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |

    Obama is a genius. He has taken advantage of being an "unknown".

    He's playing the part of being the newcomer to Washington politics who has "no connections". That part is true.

    He has coupled that with the beautiful message of "change and hope" for the future like so many politicians before him. It works.

    Over the last three weeks Obama has taken virtually every position on every major issue.

    His people have been given the opportunity to extract from public opinion polls the best possible combination of positions to take to get the most possible votes.

    Day by day as he flips and flops on issues as he learns more and more about what America wants to hear.

    By the DNC he'll have all the information he needs to know who he's going to be until the election.

    For the time between the DNC and the election Obama will follow a straight line but imaginary platform that will get him elected.

    During those last two months the public will have become so enamored with his sweet talk that they will forget all the wishy-washiness we are seeing now.


    For now - like a parentless child - he continues to search for his identity.

    God help us all!

    I'm voting for John McCain in 2008.

    July 16, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  3. LT for Obama

    Barack is going to change the way the world looks at the US and that will be in a much more positive light than if we have McCain who's own surrogate said that he is the same as Bush on trade and economics. Oh, that's right, we are not supposed to be listening to the surrogates so I guess his voting 95% with Bush will have to prove the point.

    July 16, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  4. Anita from Arizona

    Good move, Obama. We are with you all the way.

    Yes We Can!!!

    July 16, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
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