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McCain Quietly Spending on TV in Swing States

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) right boards his campaign charter with former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, June 2, 2008, at Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Va. (Associated Press)
By Matthew Mosk Republican John McCain has quietly spent about $1.5 million on television ads in key swing states over the past 90 days, trying to get an early edge with voters while his Democratic rival remains bogged down by a protracted primary battle.

The McCain advertising -- in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan -- may also be an attempt to start countering what has been a huge television presence by Democrats over the past six months.

McCain has spent about $11 million on television ads so far during the campaign. By contrast, Democrat Barack Obama has spent $75 million during his presidential run, more than the entire Republican field combined, according to a new study by the Wisconsin Advertising Project.

The study, based on data compiled by the Campaign Media Analysis Group, found that getting up on television first, and being there alone, helped Obama in critical primary contests in February.

"In the nine states that Obama won in the two week period following the February 5 Super Tuesday primaries, Obama not only had an advantage in the number of ads that he aired, but in most of these nine contests, he was also first on the air and had the paid media airways all to himself for a significant part of the short campaigns," the study found. "For example, in Nebraska, during the short nine-day advertising air war, Obama was up alone, with his messages not countered for six days. In Wisconsin, the advertising air war lasted 14 days, and Obama was up alone for six of those days. In Maryland and Virginia, Obama had the airwaves all to himself for 7 out of 12 days."

Now it is McCain who is trying to get that early jump in crucial states, according to Evan Tracey, of the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Tracey said McCain is chasing independent voters, particularly in Pennsylvania and Ohio, who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primary and may now be feeling disgruntled as Obama emerges as the more likely nominee.

"If he can build up a little lead in some of these states, it just means Obama needs to work a little harder, spend a little more time there," Tracey said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 2, 2008; 1:53 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , The Green Zone  
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