The Obama campaign waded into the TV ad market this week with a multi-state, four-week $24.2 million buy. The president had been getting pinpricked for weeks by GOP-aligned Super PACs and it made sense to respond. But in light of the news Wednesday that President Obama now supports same-sex marriage, the strategy behind the buy might’ve been proactive. In fact, it’s possible the buy, which is for 30 and 60-second positive ads, was designed to blunt any vitriol aimed at Obama for “evolving” his opinion on the gay marriage issue. Here’s evidence to support that theory:
Of the nine states the buy is spread out over, the top three recipients have all passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. Ohio, where the Obama camp booked $5.4 million in ad time, passed a same-sex marriage and civil union ban in 2004. Having the question on the ballot was credited with helping George W. Bush win the state and subsequently his second term.
The Ohio buy will blanket the state, according to an analysis by SMG-Delta. Toledo, which along with Columbus is the swing market in the state, appears to be the one targeted with the highest levels of point saturation — between 1,000-1,100 points per week.
Florida took in $5 million of the president’s buy. Two-thirds of its citizens voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2008. Obama won Florida in 2008 — back when he opposed same-sex marriage — and he’ll need to keep it in his column this cycle to retain his job. Here, the swing market of Orlando was his focus. He booked 800-950 points per week in that market.
North Carolina took in $2.5 million of Obama’s ad buy — the third highest of the nine states. This, too, was an all-state buy, with only three counties not covered. North Carolina voted on Tuesday to define marriage as between one man and one woman. The amendment also voids other types of domestic partnerships from carrying legal status. Obama focused his firepower on the Greenville-Spartanburg and Charlotte markets.
The timing of Obama’s interview with ABC on Wednesday, wherein he revealed his new position, some thought, was forced because of remarks made by Vice President Biden last Sunday on “Meet the Press.” But in the weeks to come, as the chatter grows louder about how Obama changed his position, what it means for his character et cetera, voters in key battleground states will be reminded of the president’s positive accomplishments thanks to his multi-million dollar outlay.