Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

McCain Expands Air War…At Expense of Ground Game

Interesting.  McCain has decided that his last chance is to persuade voters with an intense barrage of commercials that will, for the last few days of the campaign, bring him to parity with Obama on air.   However, there is one thing to note about this decision:

 

The decision to finance a final advertising push is forcing McCain to curtail spending on Election Day ground forces to help usher his supporters to the polls, according to Republican consultants familiar with McCain’s strategy.

The vaunted, 72-hour plan that President Bush used to mobilize voters in 2000 and 2004 has been scaled back for McCain. He has spent half as much as Obama on staffing and has opened far fewer field offices. This week, a number of veteran GOP operatives who orchestrate door-to-door efforts to get voters to the polls were told they should not expect to receive plane tickets, rental cars or hotel rooms from the campaign.

I have no idea how this will net out in the end, but it’s clear that the resource gap is forcing the GOP to make an either/or decision, whereas advertising and GOTV isn’t mutually exclusive to the Obama campaign.  I still believe the race will tighten significantly, and an intense barrage of ads slamming Obama can’t help but have an effect.   

This is particularly true of 527s, which have been saving their firepower for this last weekend:

The National Republican Trust PAC, which has been airing an ad attacking Barack Obama’s association with Reverend Wright in three battleground states, has now put down for a national buy on five networks that will last from now through election day, a consultant with the group confirms to me.

The ad will run nationally on Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC for the next five days, the consultant, Rick Wilson, says — “all the way until election day.”

That’s pretty major – Rev. Wright ads reminding people of some of their concerns over Obama on the big national networks non-stop?  We can’t dismiss that out-of-hand.
And yet, the vaunted 72-hour GOTV operation also helped push Bush to victory in 2004, and without it, and without the enthusiasm Obama has, McCain will take a hit.   What we don’t know is whether this hit can be replaced or even overtaken with TV ads.  
Buckle up.
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October 31, 2008 - Posted by | Battleground States | , ,

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