According to The Washington Post, President Obama has spent more than $91 million on television ads in eight swing states as of July 6. Over the same time Mitt Romney has spent just $23 million. True, conservative groups have spent some money against Obama closing the gap a little (in Pennsylvania, for example, Obama has spent $5 million, Romney nothing, and Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS has spent $2.3 million).
But conservative groups have far outraised and outspent liberal groups this year and that trend shows no signs of abating (American Crossroads, the 527 organization affiliated with Crossroads GPS, has already booked $40 million in advertising time for the last four weeks of the election.
Worse for Obama, the latest fundraising numbers show he will not be able to outspend Romney forever. Romney and the Republican National Committee raised $106 million in June, while Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised only $71 million. Romney will eventually reach parity with Obama on television spending and will probably surpass him.
So how is Obama doing now, at the height of his incumbency advantage? At best, he’s treading water. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Obama tied with Romney among registered voters at 47 percent. But Obama is far weaker than that top line number suggests.
Romney is actually beating Obama among independents by 14 points, 53-39 percent. The only thing keeping Obama close to Romney is the poll’s heavily pro-Democrat sample. In 2008, a Democratic landslide election, Democrats enjoyed just a 7 point turn out advantage (39 percent of the electorate to 32 percent). But in this poll, Democrats enjoy a 9 point advantage (36 percent to 27 percent). In both 2004 and 2010, turnout between the parties was even.
The source of Obama’s weakness is easy to identify. Sixty-three percent of respondents say the country is on the wrong track. Eighty-nine percent identify the economy as the most important issue in the election. And 54 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy. However, few people know what Romney will do about the economy if elected president. Only 38 percent of respondents say Romney has presented “a clear plan for dealing the the economic situation.”
If Romney can build on his existing economic advantage (respondents trust Romney more on the economy 49 percent to 44 percent), this may be Obama’s high water mark.
Obama: Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., swiftly dropped his previous objection to Obama’s tax hike on the middle class. “[Schumer] still believes that the millionaire strategy is the best one. But he believes more that party unity at this time is even more important,” a person close to Schumer told Politico. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who is facing re-election, did not back Obama. “Sen. Nelson supports permanently extending the Bush-era tax cuts that are due to expire at the end of this year for everybody making less than $1 million a year,” Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin said.
Romney: The Romney campaign will begin to aggressively push back against President Obama’s accusations that the Republican was an “outsourcing pioneer” today, a source privy to the the campaign’s strategy told BuzzFeed.
Nevada: The House Ethics Committee disclosed Monday a unanimous decision to open an investigation into whether Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., used her office to benefit her physician husband’s financial interests. The investigation is a huge blow to Berkley’s campaign to defeat Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
Around the Bigs
The Texas Tribune, Texas Won’t Implement Key Elements of Health Reform: Texas will not expand Medicaid or establish a health insurance exchange, two major tenets of the federal health reform that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last month, Gov. Rick Perry said Monday.
The Wall Street Journal, Political Spending by Unions Far Exceeds Direct Donations: Organized labor spends about four times as much on politics and lobbying as generally thought, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, a finding that shines a light on an aspect of labor’s political activity that has often been overlooked.
The Wall Street Journal, Mayor Cuts Workers’ Pay to Minimum Wage: Unions representing city workers in Scranton, Pa., plan to ask a county judge to hold the mayor in contempt of court after he cut the pay of almost 400 municipal employees—including himself—to the state’s minimum wage, saying the city can’t pay the full salaries.
USA Today, School is too easy, students report: Millions of kids simply don’t find school very challenging, a new analysis of federal survey data suggests. The report could spark a debate about whether new academic standards being piloted nationwide might make a difference.
CNBC, In Maryland, Higher Taxes Chase Out Rich: A new report says wealthy Maryland residents may be moving out due to recent tax hikes – a finding that is sure to escalate the battle over taxing the American rich.
CNN, Was politics behind Holder contempt vote?: A new CNN poll finds that 53 percent of adults approve of the U.S. House of Representatives holding “Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to a program called Operation Fast and Furious.” Only 33 percent disapprove.
The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney notes that Obama has outraised Romney in the Hamptons by almost 40 percent.
The Mercatus Center’s Matt Mitchell details all the ways big government helps big business at a cost to everyone else.
University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor Luigi Zingales advises Romney to run on free markets, and against crony capitalism.
At The Corner, Veronique de Rugy finds Paul Krugman flip-flopping on the need for Medicare reform.
Talking Points Memo‘s Brian Beutler produced chart showing “What The Bush Tax Cut Battle Is All About.”
At The New Republic, Ruy Teixeira produces more data purporting to show that Obama will easily win this November thanks to demographics.
Former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., identifies four major hurdles Obamacare still must overcome.