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Obama's Ad Spending Helps Tell The Tale

It's not exactly news that Barack Obama has held a spending advantage over Hillary Clinton for some time, but a new study out today illustrates just how large – and potentially critical – his campaign's ad spending has been.

Out of a total of nearly $200 million spent on ads in the presidential primaries, Obama's campaign accounts for $75 million of that, according to the study by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG and the Wisconsin Advertising Project. That's more than was spent by the entire Republican field of candidates, who together spent $57 million on TV ads. Hillary Clinton has spent some $46 million on ads, according to the study.

Most illuminating is where and when the spending gap began to appear. The study found that ad spending by Obama and Clinton was roughly equal through the Super Tuesday contests on February 5th. But in the period afterward, when Obama reeled off a string of consecutive wins and accumulated a large cache of delegates, his campaign outspent Clinton by a 3-to-1 margin.

As the report notes, ad spending is not the sole reason Obama had an advantage in that period of time, but it points out one of the major criticisms of the Clinton campaign – that they did not have a post-Super Tuesday strategy. Clinton regained her balance in Ohio and Texas and has gone on to win some big contests but not in the kinds of margins she needed to erase the lead Obama built up in February.

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