Romney pollster seeks to reassure supporters

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama has spent $51.4 million on early attack ads, yet the polls show his advantage narrowing, according to a July 16 press statement by Mitt Romney’s campaign pollster.

“If throwing the kitchen sink at Gov. Romney while leveraging a two-to-one ad-spending advantage doesn’t move numbers for the President, that’s got to tell you … [voters] don’t truly believe the next four years will be any different from the last three and a half,” said the Monday statement from Neil Newhouse.

Obama’s early spending likely will be countered by a post-Labor Day blitz by Romney. That’s when most voters start to pay attention, and when his ad dollars may have their greatest impact.

Romney seems to be saving his money for a later blitz. For example, the Romney campaign said that its bank balance had climbed to $150 million by the end of June.

In June, for the first time, Obama’s team did not release its bank balance, perhaps because their campaign’s early spending has reduced their cash on hand below Romney’s amount.

So far, Obama’s campaign has spent $51.4 million on TV ads, more than half of which was spent on negative ads, while Romney has only spent $23 million, Newhouse said in his statement.

“What has that bought the Democrats?  A closer race – Obama has slipped and support for Gov. Romney has increased,” he claimed.

Newhouse cited compilations of polling data to argue that Obama averaged a 5.3 percent advantage in April, but only a 2.4 percent advantage in July. Obama’s support now averages 46.8 percent, to Romney’s 44.4 percent, he said.

Several national polls also show Obama’s advantage shrinking to 2 percent or less, Newhouse said.

However, Newhouse did not mention the polls in the crucial battleground states, where Obama is also ahead, and where he had spent the bulk of his advertising dollars.

Last week, Reuters reported that Obama had spent nearly $100 million on attacks ads in swing states.

Much of the spending want to Florida, Virginia and Ohio, which consumed 20 percent of Obama’s ad dollars.

Also, Newhouse did not mention the role of the pro-Romney Super PACs, whose spending has partially offset the Obama campaign’s. For example, the pro-Romney “Restore Our Future” committee has spent much of the $80 million that it raised by the end of June.

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