Kinda Late to be “Solidfying the Base”


Interesting catch by the Journal: Why is Bush “so concerned about voters he should already have in the bag?”

Based upon the cable buys the Bush re-election campaign has been making, there appears to be some serious concern by Rove & Company over “the base.” The Bush campaign is not only outspending Kerry on cable — by more than 10 to 1 — but placing their ad dollars in places that you might have suspected were (excuse the term) a slam-dunk.

While the challenger has purchased only 265 cable spots, the incumbent has bought a whopping 3092 cable adverts thru (June of 2004). Even more intriguing are the types of channels the incumbent has been buying: The Golf Channel, Fox News, MSNBC, The Speed Channel and The Travel Channel.

These are hardly the provinces of swing voters . . .

Here’s an excerpt from the Journal:

President Bush is spending heavily on cable-television advertising in his bid to win re-election, and if the channels he is dropping dollars on are any indication, he is particularly concerned about voters he should already have in the bag.

Through the first six months of this year, Mr. Bush’s campaign bought almost 3,100 ads on cable, mostly on channels that attract white male viewers, many of them affluent.

CABLEADS08252004205218 According to Nielsen Monitor Plus, which has been tracking ad spending by the candidates, Mr. Bush bought 335 spots on the History Channel, 282 on Discovery Communications Inc.’s Travel Channel and almost 100 on News Corp.’s Speed Channel. He also bought 400 spots on Comcast Corp.’s Golf Channel, whose audience is so tiny it doesn’t even subscribe to Nielsen to get ratings.

But if the Golf Channel is the network of the few, those few are well-to-do. The network says that 33% of its prime-time audience, and 67% of its viewers between the ages of 35 and 64, have a household income of over $100,000.

Mr. Bush also has been spending a lot on cable-news channels, and it comes as no surprise that News Corp.’s Fox News has been the biggest beneficiary, getting 253 commercials from the Bush-Cheney committee in the year’s first six months. Time Warner Inc.’s CNN sold 383 spots to the president in the same time frame, but according to the Bush campaign, those spots are cheaper than on Fox. MSNBC, which is co-owned by General Electric Co. and Microsoft Corp. and lags far behind in the cable-news ratings race, sold almost 700 spots to President Bush’s re-election effort.

Four years ago, Nielsen research shows that the Bush-Cheney committee didn’t buy any time on the cable-news networks, and the Gore-Lieberman campaign bought just 12 spots.

Fascinating stuff; Here’s the breakdown of all the White House ad buys:

Presidential campaign ads on major cable-TV channels, January – June 2004:

BET 0 1
Comedy Central 10 0
CNBC 345 51
CNN 383 157
ESPN2 44 0
ESPN 108 0
Fox News 253 26
FX 32 0
Golf Channel 400 0
History Channel 335 0
MSNBC 693 30
Speed Channel 82 0
TLC 125 0
Travel Channel 282 0
TOTAL 3,092 265

Sources: Nielsen Media Research; WSJ research

We’ve discussed the how the election will hinge on the undecided voters in the Swing States ad nauseum. The WSJ notes they are “about 10% of the electorate — in about a dozen swing states. Who these on-the-fence citizens are and what they watch are matters of debate. But if Mr. Bush is using cable largely to shore up his base, isn’t he risking wasting money preaching to the converted?

I continue to believe that this race will end up busting out, prolly post-debate. I do not think it will be a close election . . .

Bush Cable Ads Aim to Solidify ‘Partisan’ Vote
Joe Flint
The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2004;Page B1,,SB109347863558701469,00.html

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  1. Tim commented on Aug 31

    I agree this election will not be close. Let’s hope that Kerry wins for the sake of fiscal sanity. Robert Rubin’s influence would be nice.

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