President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are focusing almost all of their television ads on bashing one another. Some 90% of Obama’s ads in the 14-day period ended 7/9 carried an anti-Romney message and 94% of Romney’s ads criticized Obama, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG. The president’s campaign ran more than twice as many negative spots as Romney during the period, 37,022 to 13,962, according to CMAG.
The negative ads underscore that Obama and Romney are sharpening their attacks 16 weeks before an 11/6 vote that national polls indicate will be close. Obama led Romney by 50% to 43% among registered voters in a survey taken June 28-July 9 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, reports Bloomberg.
Obama’s most popular ad during the 14-day period says Romney promoted an “outsourcing” of U.S. jobs overseas as a private-equity executive. Romney’s most frequently aired spot includes footage of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton criticizing Obama’s campaign tactics as they competed for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
The CMAG data don’t include some hard-hitting ads released in the past few days. An Obama ad released July 14 shows Romney singing “America the Beautiful” at a campaign event as it accuses Romney of sending jobs to Mexico, China and India, and keeping personal funds in accounts in Switzerland and Bermuda.
Obama’s campaign ran more negative ads in the two weeks ended July 9 than in the previous 11 weeks. Since April 10, Obama’s campaign supplied 73,315 negative ads and 54,279 positive spots, CMAG data show.
Obama has encouraged donors to give money to an independent super-political action committee, run by his former aides, that’s airing anti-Romney ads. The super-PAC, Priorities USA Action, ran ads more than 2,780 times in the 14-day period ended July 9, all of them attacking Romney’s business record at Bain Capital.
Romney’s campaign says the president’s attacks contradict his statements from his 2008 campaign, during which candidate Obama promised to run a campaign based on “hope and change.”
“What happened?” a narrator asks in a Romney ad that began running July 14 and uses footage of Obama speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Another Romney ad, released yesterday, shows footage of television commentators analyzing the tone of Obama’s campaign.
The Republican National Committee has also entered the fray, using its first presidential ad to say Obama failed to meet the “big plans” he set at the beginning of his administration, including cutting federal budget deficits in half and lowering a national unemployment rate that has been above 8% for 41 consecutive months.
“He tried,” a narrator says. “You tried. It’s OK to make a change.”