Friday, September 07, 2012

Will Romney's Money Matter?

Money is the mother's milk of politics. ~ Jesse Unruh
Romney has started dumping a shit ton of money on swing state advertising. One thing I absolutely know about political consultants is that they never share the fact that there is a point of diminishing returns in political spending. Meg Whitman spent $177 million trying to buy the California governor's office. She outspent Jerry Brown by 5 to 1. Brown won in a landslide, by 13%.

The consultants will tell a candidate that you have to catch voters attention at least three times for a message to stick. What the consultants don't say (because they only get paid for spending campaign money) is if you hit the voters too often they'll start hating the message. I've seen it happen.

On one campaign I worked on we had so many volunteers we could man large phone banks every night. We call our supporters so frequently we started getting threats, "If you call one more time I'm going to vote for the other guy." In 2010, Whitman sent out a thick, full color booklet to voters. The only message voters got from the booklet is that Whitman is a spendthrift.

I'm not saying Romney can't buy the White House like it's just another one of his mansions. I am suggesting that drowning a handful of swing states in anti-Obama commercials may cause voters to start hating Romney's sledgehammer.

1 comment:

Katy Anders said...

I've been thinking the same thing.

The "Problem" for Romney is that he has had more money in his campaign than he has known what to do with.

Even in Iowa, he spent his cash buying ALL AVAILABLE ad time on television. They said it was overwhelming - and that would likely backfire in a general election.

The people with the most money generally WIN. But you need to use it intelligently.