U. Wisconsin Ad Project Finds Obama Spending More Before Ohio

This story was written by Ken Harris, Badger Herald
Spending in Ohio was more than three times greater than in Wisconsin, according to a report released Wednesday by University of Wisconsin Advertising Project.

The amount of money spent by the candidates in Ohio was about $6.8 million, all of it coming from Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., according to the report. The spending total in Wisconsin between four candidates from both parties totaled about $2.1 million.

While Obama outspent Clinton in Ohio like he did in Wisconsin, his lead was not as large this time around, according to Ken Goldstein, UW political science professor and project director.

"In Wisconsin, Obama massively outspent Hillary, like four or five to one," Goldstein said. "In Ohio that margin was only two to one."

In addition to the increased spending by the candidates, the report also says interest group spending by two unions in favor of Obama and an independent support group amounted to more than $1 million.

According to Goldstein, large spending by interest groups was a major new development in the campaigns for the party nominations. He added there had been some third party spending in Iowa, but this was the first instance of outside groups making major buys of television spots.

The majority of the outside spending was done by the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union on behalf of Obama, according to the report.

Goldstein said the campaigns will probably become more reliant on outside party spending as the campaign drags on.

"I expect to see more [interest group] spending as ... the campaigns are getting financially exhausted and physically exhausted," Goldstein said. "Every dollar they don't have to spend is a big help."

Another major difference between the Ohio and Wisconsin campaigns was that Clinton and Obama advertisements hit the air waves at the same time, according to Goldstein. Obama had a one week head start on Clinton in Wisconsin.

According to the report, the infamous "3 a.m." advertisement was not aired in Ohio, but did receive considerable media attention. The ad features a small child asleep in bed and asks the viewer who they want answering the phone during an emergency late at night.

According to UW journalism professor Dietram Scheufele, the advertisement received a lot of attention because it marked the true beginning of Clinton's campaign taking a negative approach.

He said Clinton has taken a negative approach "because she has to," saying "there is no other way for her to get to Barack Obama at the moment."

Scheufele said candidates prefer to keep campaigns clean during the primaries "because all you produce can come back to haunt you later."

"Right now Republicans are leaning back," Scheufele said. "This is the ideal scenario for them."

Goldstein said there was no spending by republicans in Ohio because the race was so lopsided.

"It is over now and it was pretty clear it was over before Ohio and Texas," Goldstein said.

According to Goldstein, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was trailing severely in numbers of delegates to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., spent all his money in Texas, so McCain decided to match his investment there.
© 2008 Badger Herald via U-WIRE