October 12th, 2008
10:08 AM ET
12 years ago

Both campaigns spending about the same on negative ads

A McCain ad calls Obama 'not presidential.

A McCain ad calls Obama 'not presidential.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The race for the White House is being waged in the final weeks in American living rooms through a blitz of negative campaign commercials.

And though Sen. Barack Obama's campaign circulated a University of Wisconsin Advertising Project study earlier this week indicating all of Sen. John McCain's ads are negative compared to just 34 percent of Obama's, both campaigns are spending about equal amounts on attack ads.

An analysis of campaign commercials aired over the last seven days shows Obama outspent McCain nationwide by more than 2-1: $21.5 million vs. $9.2 million.

Watch: Negative ads dominate the campaign homestretch

But just under half of the money Obama is spending is going toward negative spots, meaning the Illinois senator is roughly keeping pace with his GOP rival when it comes to negative commercials, in terms of cash spent.

Check out CNN's Ad Spending Election Tracker

Campaign Media Analysis Group's Evan Tracey, CNN's consultant on campaign advertising, said Obama's cash advantage over McCain provides the Illinois senator with a luxury McCain cannot afford: the means to run both positive and negative TV spots.

"McCain is almost all negative because he needs to be," Tracey said, adding that McCain is "behind in the polls and outgunned."

Full story

soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. mitch

    obama has to fight back with truth even if it is negative. republicans introduced this tactic and it used to work. no more. obama will win and those tactics will no longer be relevant. next time repubs, show some integrity if you know what that is!

    October 12, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Robin

    Obama's ads are attacking McCain's economic policies, McCain's attack ads are trying to label Obama as a terrorist ... a far worse charge that has the real possibility of encouraging actual acts of violence.

    October 12, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. America think for you

    Barack Obama do not abuse his power to fire no body wrongly. The investigation was not tainted; it was a bipartisan investigation and they caught Sarah lying. She is a no brainer power abuser who will fire you if you divorce her sister. What is a shame. We do not want power abuser in the white house. Joe Biden never abuse his power.Ethics verse trust. How can we trust the GOP? They had lied about it for so long and refused to coorparate because they knew that they were guilty. They are so desperate and have nothing else to talk about but lies. Do not let them deviate your thought about the economy.

    October 12, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Fay Wendrow

    Obama is a phony. He's trying to be all things to all people. He'll
    raise your taxes....he'll ruin the whole economy. You are sometimes
    judge by the company you keep. Duh............

    Sen. McCain is one of the finest men I would trust to run this country!
    Who in the world is Obama! Where did he come from, what has he
    done? Nothing to speak of. So, how can you trust this man from
    no where to run the country.

    McCain for President!!

    October 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Ken

    WAKE UP AMERICA! This proves that Barack Hussein Obama lied to the American people when he said that he would run a different kind of race that any other candidate. Well, he was wrong, for he is no differnt that any other kind of politician, he will do anything to get elected, and that includes lying to the American people.

    NOBAMA 2008

    McCain/Palin 2008

    Hillary Clinton 2012

    October 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. Courtney H

    This is silly. The headline is that both campaigns are equally negative. That is what it would lead people to believe. However, actually reading the article makes it clear that Mccain is 100% negative while Obama only runs 1/3 negative adds. Again, the ridiculousness of false equivalency.

    October 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Desmond Sequeira

    OMG. McSame's nastiness makes OBAMA's look like angelic.The McSame/F A I L I N campaign is running on NEGATIVITY only – it's like running on EMPTY.

    October 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. God fearing Voter

    I don't have much, but, there goes another $100.00 to 08bama from me!

    October 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. mmd

    Well, if it is true half and half, why did you selecte the half that shows Obama in a negative ad. More free press for your man mccain.
    As long as CNN is covering this electon, mccain does not have to match Obama spending power. CNN has mccain's back.

    Oh, and don't forget wooden teeth dobbs, the hater of Obama.

    October 12, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. America think for you

    Lying to us is not presidential.
    Barack Obama do not abuse his power to fire no body wrongly. The investigation was not tainted; it was a bipartisan investigation and they caught Sarah lying. She is a no brainer power abuser who will fire you if you divorce her sister. What is a shame. We do not want power abuser in the white house. Joe Biden never abuse his power.Ethics verse trust. How can we trust the GOP? They had lied about it for so long and refused to coorparate because they knew that they were guilty. They are so desperate and have nothing else to talk about but lies. Do not let them deviate your thought about the economy.

    October 12, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. josephine

    people should just start booing even before McCain/Palin start with their rhetorics. they should let it be known that the path they are trying to take the people is unacceptable. Let them know that sleaze wont get them anywhere and that the people are sick and tired of it. Tell the people what you are going to do instead of who your opponent is and what he cant or wont do. Enough is enough.....

    October 12, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    ************PLEASE POST CNN****************************************

    McCain and Palin have been inciting hate and anger.

    Palin was found guilty of abuse of power.

    A citizen's watch group found that ONLY 34% of Sen. Obama's ads are negative.

    Not only are McCain's ads negative, they are lies.

    Its time for us, Americans, to reject the politics of FEAR, HATE AND LIES!

    October 12, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Peter

    I swear to god that if Obama gets killed by some "joe-six pack" im leaving this country because mccain at this point is just getting people angry to enough to want obama dead

    October 12, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. canuck

    Hey folks i have a question.Why does the media cnn ,msnbc and fix news not question Mcain on his comment "i know how to find Bin Laden and i will get him".If he is the great patriot and is truly country first why is he not telling anyone .Seems unpatriotic to me and selfish. Wake up America you have the potential to elect a great leader,the world is watching. <<<<<<<<GO OBAMA

    October 12, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. John, Flagstaff, AZ

    Well Obama did not want to run any negative ads. If you listen to hom he moves away from it and tries to focus on the Issues. If we do not get our economy right WE Republicans or Democrats can say good bye to our jobs. Palin has nothing but nasty comments, anger and hate producing speeches in her arsenal. She steered Rep. supporters up to a point where McCain had to calm them down. Then of course, the Rep's. have not one single issue they can talk about. Everything is broken.

    October 12, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. It Works Both Ways!

    Plain & Simple, you speak negatively against Senator McCain (ageism=accepted), speak negatively about Gov. Palin (sexism=accepted), they did the same thing to Senator Clinton.

    You speak negatively about "The Almighty Obama," (racism=NOT accepted).

    Give me a break!!!

    McCain/Palin!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 12, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. Aaron

    The cult personality swimming around Obama is terrifying, people are just laying themselves down in sacrifice to his propaganda machine. Empty promises and tactical lies. Stop drinking the kool-aid people Obama is a hypocrite and his ideas will bankrupt us. All of you who follow him like he is the Messiah, I can't wait to see the looks on your faces when he sells us out to Chinese investors; or perhaps you would like that seeings that China fits nicely with the fascist left.

    October 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  18. susie

    Gee, this is surprising. The Dems keep saying it is only the Republicans putting out negative ads. Can we even believe the Dems?

    October 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  19. Joe

    Tracey is right. McCain has to campaign against the Obama/CNN and MSNBC ticket

    October 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. pat C.

    you know maybe if palin knew a little more about politics and read more about the last 20 months since obama won the primary with 18million voters voting for him she would know all the crap she is spewing now about obama. he was heavily vetted before he could run and his background was turned upside down by hillary. the ayers story is old and has been explained numerous times and yes...we even know all about rev.wright sooooooo sarah palin is the ignorant one by not even keeping up with our nations biggest event. she just needs to remember, obama was elected and she was selected by one grumpy old man having a senior moment.

    October 12, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. Kerri from Indy

    Thousands of voters have been purged from the system illegally in battleground states. MSM would rather talk about ACORN than about voters possibly being disenfranchised. Please, please find out if you are still registered so you will not have a unwelcome surprise come Nov. 4th.

    October 12, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. Frustrated voter in VA

    Obama has got to be outspending McCain in advertising on national networks. Every time I turn on the TV I see one ad after another from Obama. Was considering voting for Obama – but now I see how he uses his funding...throwing away money with constant attack ads. Can't imagine he would use taxpayer dollars wisely.

    October 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Gabby

    WHERE IS JACK CAFFERTY? When will he be back?

    October 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Larry

    McCain has ourageous negative/hate ads on things that are from the past and do not matter right now.Obama has negative ads about policies and issues that are important like health care.There is no comparison between who is mostly false on fact checks and that would be McCain.Republicans are lucky that there are no negative ads against Palin cause you could run 24/7 with all her lies and embelleishments.She is even trying to hoodwink Ameicans into thinking she has Executive experience because she was a volunteer hockey manager.She does not even know the difference between executive experience and volunteer experience and some want her for VP

    October 12, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. bridgette

    Why would Obama play the race card. I don't think any person that is biracial would do that. The reality of it is Obama informative years he was raised by a World War II veteran and his wife. Obama was most likely brought up in a conservative household. His closet relationship he had growing up as a child is with his grandfather. They were very close. So I can't really seeing the way he loved, honored, and cherished that man that he would ever play that kind of race kind.

    October 12, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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