In the past few weeks, Pennsylvania has seen fewer and fewer presidential campaign ad dollars. The Obama campaign and GOP super PACs have scaled down their TV buys in the Keystone state.
Barack Obama’s campaign has scaled back their television presence since the end of June; GOP super PACs Crossroads GPS and Restore Our Future are off the air altogether. Only the Tea Party-affiliated Americans for Prosperity is still on the air for Republicans.
The two exceptions are Mitt Romney’s campaign, which hasn’t purchased any ad time since the primary, and the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, whose presence in the state has remained stable and significant.
All that said, it bears note that Romney’s campaign is limited in its spending prior to the Republican National Convention in August. Per Dan Hirschhorn of The Daily, that’s because federal rules enforce a strict distinction between primary contributions and those for the general election. Though he is the presumptive GOP candidate and raising money at a healthy clip (even outpacing Obama), Romney technically has not yet been nominated.
That means his campaign is likely to retool its strategy in a few weeks, and may decide then to invest in PA. Republicans have tried to play in PA every cycle, but haven’t won the state in more than two decades.
Instead, Romney and his allies appear more interested in testing the waters of the Great Lakes, where demographics or electoral history are arguably more promising than Pennsylvania. Obama is more dependent on white working class voters in Michigan than Pennsylvania, and recent polls provide cause for Republicans to be hopeful about their chances. This week, Crossroads turned up the volume in Michigan and spent nearly $600,000 on advertisements. That’s not as much as other battleground states, but it’s a hefty investment.
Perhaps as a result of the diminished GOP effort, the Obama campaign has slashed their Pennsylvania spending in half to just $173,000 last week—or about as much as their spending in the Raleigh media market and less than any other state.