The common assumption is that conservatives will have an outside money advantage in the presidential election, thanks to massive spending by pro-Romney super PACs. This wisdom is on display in the New York Times today, which wonders whether Democrats will be able to “catch up in the super PAC game”:
“They’re spending ridiculous amounts of money on the other side,” [potential donor] Amber Mostyn said. “All the crazy commercials they’re going to put up — how do you combat that?”
Burton was ready for this question. “You don’t do it dollar for dollar,” he said. He whipped out his iPad and showed the Mostyns a few slides from his PowerPoint presentation. The slides included polling data indicating voters’ lack of familiarity with Romney’s business record at the private-equity firm Bain Capital, as well as financial figures from the 2010 midterm election showing how well-spent donations could help a Democrat prevail over a better-financed Republican opponent.
But NRO’s Jim Geraghty reports that as of right now, it’s the pro-Romney super PACs that have to catch up with the opposition. He crunched the Federal Election Commission data from January 2011 through this week and found a major discrepancy in spending:
According to Federal Election Commission data filed from January 2011 through July 3, super PACs and all groups making “independent expenditures” in the political arena have spent $35.3 million in opposition to Romney, and only $9 million in opposition to Obama. Rove’s American Crossroads, for example, has spent $3.1 million this cycle. But only $158,126.17 of that has been spent in efforts opposing President Obama, and a separate $7,500 has been spent on Web ads supporting Mitt Romney. For perspective, the group spent $358,202.98 in mid-June in just one expenditure on “TV/Media Purchases” opposing Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine in Virginia, and then spent the same sum a week later in the same race.
There’s still plenty of time until the election, and the political spending will pick up as it gets closer. Republicans also had the disadvantage of a competitive primary, giving conservative groups a smaller window of time so far to focus on general election messaging. But Jim’s findings certainly blow apart the narrative that pro-Obama groups are lagging far behind when it comes to super PAC spending. Interesting that the mainstream media hasn’t picked up on that yet, no?