Most strategists expect that Romney and the outside groups aligned with him will dominate in broadcast advertising from here on out, while the Obama campaign banks on a 3-to-1 staffing advantage in swing states to bring out voters.
Bill Burton, a spokesman for Priorities USA Action super PAC, said his group can still be effective while being outspent by carefully targeting its ads, which will total about $30 million from now to Election Day. He pointed to Priorities ads over the summer that focused national attention on Romney’s tenure at the Bain Capital private equity firm.
“They broke through more than anything else and had an impact on how people think about Mitt Romney’s business record,” Burton said. “Money is important. But I don’t think we need to spend as much as them to have meaningful impact.”
The brunt of the fall political ads will be focused in just over a half-dozen swing states that have already borne most of the assault so far, including Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia. States with hotly contested Senate races will also be hard hit, experts say.
Ken Goldstein, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ads, said that “for people in those battleground states and battleground markets, it’s going to be all campaign ads all the time.”
Although many voters are likely to tune them out, the spots are primarily aimed at a tiny slice of the electorate that remains undecided in a polarized election year. Goldstein compared it to an occasional sports fan who only takes notice when the local team makes the playoffs.
“If you’re a casual fan, if you’re someone who only watches the Super Bowl, you’re only going to start tuning in at the end of the season,” Goldstein said. “These ads aren’t trying to convince everybody. The thing about people who are undecided is that they are probably not following politics yet.”
T.W. Farnum contributed to this report.