President Obama has spent more than $91 million on television ads in eight swing states as of July 6, a massive sum that dwarfs the $23 million former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has disbursed on campaign commercials in those same places. Only heavy spending by Republican super PACs is keeping Romney within financial shouting distance of the incumbent on television at this point.
The data, which was provided to the Fix by a Republican media buyer, paints a fascinating picture of Obama’s overwhelming ad advantage in each of the states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia — where both campaigns are spending.
The spending disparity between the campaigns is particularly pronounced in three of the swingiest states: Florida, Ohio and Virginia.
In Florida, Obama has spent $17 million on TV ads as compared to $2 million for Romney. In Ohio, it’s $22 million for Obama to $6.5 million for Romney; and in Virginia, Obama has spent $11 million on TV ads to less than $3 million for Romney.
What’s keeping Romney in the game as he replenishes his cash reserves following a primary fight that saw him spend $87 million has been Republican-aligned super PACs and other non-for-profit groups like Restore Our Future, Crossroads GPS and American for Prosperity.
Here’s a chart detailing the amounts (in millions) being spent on TV by Obama, Romney and the major Republican outside groups.
In each of the 8 states where both campaigns are spending money on TV ads, the conglomerate of conservative outside groups are outspending Romney, sometimes by a factor of three or four.
In Florida, for example, Romney’s $2 million on ads pales in comparison to the $9 million that Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity have combined to spend in the Sunshine State.
And, the chart above doesn’t even take into account Pennsylvania where Obama has spent almost $5 million on ads while Romney has yet to spend a dime. Crossroads GPS has put $2.3 million in ads into the Keystone State while Americans for Prosperity has dumped $1.8 million into the state, spending that may keep it competitive heading into the fall.
What’s clear from a broad analysis of ad spending in the swing states is that conservative super PACs are supplementing Romney in a way that is keeping him very much in the game. (A new Gallup/USA Today poll of 12 swing states shows Obama at 47 percent to Romney’s 45 percent.)
And now, with word of Romney’s massive June fundraising — $106 million collected — it seems likely that Romney will not only be able to equal Obama on air but, with an assist from the Republican super PACs, over take him between now and November 6.
And that’s a very scary proposition if you are on the Democratic side of the aisle.