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Obama's Ad Dominance Reaffirmed

As the presidential election entered its final months, it became increasingly clear that Barack Obama was vastly outspending John McCain on television -- a massive gap that allowed the Illinois senator to expand the playing field and led to victories in unlikely states like Indiana and North Carolina.

New figures by the Nielsen Company reinforce just how large Obama's ad edge really was.

From June through November, Obama ran 419,667 ads in local markets while McCain ran 269,992 ads -- a difference of nearly 150,000 ads, according to Nielsen. In the final month of the election, the ad difference was even greater with Obama's campaign running 210,425 local ads as compared to just more than 97,000 for McCain.

McCain was able to fight to near-parity on national cable during the campaign as Obama outpaced him 3,004 to 2,868 from January through November. But, the national cable was no match for the precise media market by media market approach of the Obama team.

The numbers are stark, and affirm the idea -- laid out in our election post mortem "Five Myths About An Election of Mythic Proportions" -- that no Republican could have won the presidency in this election.

Obama's massive fundraising edge coupled with a change political environment and a decidedly unpopular incumbent Republican president made McCain's task close to, if not entirely, impossible.

One other conclusion from the Nielson numbers: Television still rules when it comes to campaign politics. The Internet may be the emerging force but TV still stands supreme.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 25, 2008; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Ad Wars , Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: GA-Senate: Tight as a Tick
Next: Inside the Mind of John McCain: On Picking Palin

Comments

37thandOStreetRules is one of these people who reason about the past, complain about the present, and fear the future.

BTW, Georgetown sucks azz!

Posted by: TheDiplomat | November 26, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Would McCain had of accomplished what Obama has accomplished already? How far would McCain be in naming his cabinet compared to Obama? Would McCain put the best and most experienced people in their proper positions compared to Obama?

Even real republicans are impressed by Obama's handling of the transition. The rest of you all still have that sour taste in your mouth.

Posted by: TheDiplomat | November 26, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

Yes it is Media Bias


However, for some reason this country wanted to ignore:


1) A reasoned evaluation of WHO is the BEST person to lead the economy of this nation


2) A reasoned evaluation of WHO is the BEST person to lead the foreign policy of this nation.

For some reason, there was a "kick" in this country to make some "affirmative action statement" - there was a notion that "all the nations of the world would love us if we elected a black"

All these ideas are completely silly.


Obama is not even close to the best person to lead the ecnomoy or foreign policy.


Obama is not even close to be qualified.


Obama is not even close to having the experience necessary for the position.

The people of this country have experienced some kind of mass insanity to chance the security of this nation on this affirmative action guy who just recently quit doing cocaine.


Go ahead. Delude yourselves some more.

It is as if the country was just electing a figure-head, that there were no decisions to be made, as if nothing was riding on having a capable person in the office of President.

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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 25, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

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The economy tanked because the Wall Street insiders realized that Obama was going to win, impose high taxes, bloated government programs and the Wall Street insiders decided to get out NOW.


The prospect of Obama winning caused the economic crisis.

Then the economic crises made it even more probable that Obama would win, like a spiral downward toward HELL.

Obama is a disaster - the very idea of Obama in the White House caused a stock market crash.

The guy is an affirmative action disaster. What are you people thinking????


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 25, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Nevadaandy

I find everything in your posting at 4:12 to be a lie. Can you at least be honest with something?


I will not dispute you point by point.

However, I will say that every statement is false and you have done nothing but type lies.


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 25, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

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First if one really wants change in Washington one must get off the money train, a train which Obama jumped on.


Second, McCain probably should have made a massive issue of this.


Third, any person who cares about the excessive influence of money in politics has to be unsettled to say the least that Obama has upended whatever public finance system we have.


You decide.


Obama did not do the public interest well here.


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Posted by: 37thandOStreetRules | November 25, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

"The numbers are stark, and affirm the idea... that no Republican could have won the presidency in this election."

Unless the Republican had been better liked and received better support, and/or resulting in Obama receiving less. The numbers only show that McCain couldn't win because he couldn't raise enough money. Your conclusion might be true, but these numbers aren't among the data that proves it.

"One other conclusion from the Nielson numbers: Television still rules when it comes to campaign politics. The Internet may be the emerging force but TV still stands supreme."

Another ridiculous assertion. Again it may or may not be true, but this information isn't the proof. TV ads are expensive. YouTube is free. That provides no proof that TV is "supreme" compared to the internet. Personally, I use TiVo and therefore rarely see TV advertisements. Growing numbers of people are getting DVRs. But even though I don't watch commercials on TV, I saw many of the ads put out during the campaign. I watched them online after reading about them in news articles online.

Posted by: cjenns | November 25, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the most intelligent candidate we have had in the past three decades.

He knew he had to raise a massive amount of money to win because:

1. He was not very well known because he had only been in the Senate for 4 years.

2. To win the general election, he needed to win in critical swing states and to win in states normally dominated by Republicans.

He needed to have a large war chest to spend on advertising. He had the right strategy and right message. He clearly understands the changing times and has the ability to adapt. This is what we need in our new President to get us out of the mess we are in and it is showing by his choices for his Economic Team. He's been honest and up front with Americans - he's not offering any false promises, he's describing the situation as best as he knows it to be, he knows that there may be times when his plan will not work and he has to go back to the drawing board but at least he's up front and honest about it. Anyone with common sense knows that everyone will have to suffer through the recovery period, but at least we can be assured with Obama in the White House we will get through this mess. From the moment he was elected, Obama has stepped up to the plate as a leader.

Posted by: Nevadaandy | November 25, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"Get rid of the electoral college. A financial advantage will mean less if its spread around all 50 states."

But the money won't be spread around all 50 states. In fact, it will be spread even less. Today, if a small state is close, it will get some ad money. With no EC, the small state is just a small pot of votes, possibly spread over a great area. Not cost-effective.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 25, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

This just shows that political movements such as the mainstream Modern Whig Party will need to be that much more innovative to even remotely compete with the other two parties. Fortunately, moderates from the GOP have been flocking to the Modern Whigs since the election so we only can hope they also bring some true innovation for exposure.

http://www.modernwhig.org

Posted by: WhigParty | November 25, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Obama Abandons Every Campaign Promise" - In an abrupt turn around, President elect Barak Obama abandoned his campaign promise for growing the economy from the bottom up, and has staffed his new Administration with the same fawning, self serving Washington insiders that characterized the Bush Whitehouse. Forget tax increases on the wealthy, tax breaks for the middle class, any pretensions to end outsourcing, anything remotely like H1-B visa oversight or corporate regulation; Obama's new economic plan amounts to shipping truckloads of money to Wall Street banks and brokerage houses, corporate insiders, and foreign countries. His change theme has been modified. Now, "the change you will get" amounts to what will be left over after the swine that led us into this mess get done feeding off your tax dollars. Obama has purchased a second home in Crawford, Texas and decided to purchase his daughters a black Scotty...

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 25, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Hardly any money was spent in any of the four markets of NY, LA, Atlanta or Dallas. The huge TV markets for this election were Philly, DC (for Northern Virginia), Cleveland, Denver, and the Florida markets of Miami, Tampa, and Orlando.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 25, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"Obama's massive fundraising edge coupled with a change political environment and a decidedly unpopular incumbent Republican president made McCain's task close to, if not entirely, impossible."

Actually, I think George Bush beat John McCain twice -- the first time in 2000 and the second time in 2008.

Posted by: LayneD | November 25, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"Not true. A financial advantage will mean more because the most expensive media markets are those that reach the most viewers. Expect lots of ad spending in NY, LA, DFW & ATL. Springfield? Not so much..."

Yeah, there definitely will continue to be an advantage to raising more money, but a ten million dollar advantage for the entire country is a lot different than a ten million dollar advantage in the sate of Virginia.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 25, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

If the spending and outcome would have been reversed, we would have been bombarded with messages about how the election was "bought". Somehow that whining from the right is absent. Obama won and we all hope he makes an excellent president. Just stop the whining.

Posted by: edbyronadams | November 25, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"A financial advantage will mean less if its spread around all 50 states."

Not true. A financial advantage will mean more because the most expensive media markets are those that reach the most viewers. Expect lots of ad spending in NY, LA, DFW & ATL. Springfield? Not so much...

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 25, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of the electoral college. A financial advantage will mean less if its spread around all 50 states.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 25, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Its hard to believe the amount of money spent on this last election. Maybe that's why the economy tanked... everyone spent money on the election :) But seriously, the massive amount of money spend on campaigns in still a problem. Well, not for the Duopoly, but it's a problem for third-parties. My party, the Modern Whig Party, has great ideas. But without the money to get those ideas out there, not many people will hear them. If people don't hear those ideas, they won't know about them and therefore won't donate to the Party or their candidates. And thus the cycle continues...

Posted by: revswirl | November 25, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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