According to AC Nielsen, the Obama campaign bought 55% more TV spots than McCain.
55% more? That’s it?!? Obama outspent McCain by about 600%! What did he do with the rest of the money?
Of course he bought the White House. What was he supposed to do? Let all that money he spent buying the nomination go to waste?
Please. The most effective ad in political history ran once, and it pretty much singlehandedly knocked off one of the three best Presidential candidates of the last century. Spending money is virtually uncorrelated with winning elections once you correct for the fact that the more popular of the candidates gets more donations. Campaigning well matters a lot more in the ad war than campaigning hard.
The question remains, who REALLY bought it?
Spending money is virtually uncorrelated with winning elections once you correct for the fact that the more popular of the candidates gets more donations.
Source, please. Preferrably a source that includes instructions on how such a correction might be made.
I read it in Freakonomics – basically, he compared Congressional elections where the same pair of major candidates ran against each other, as a method of correcting for candidate popularity, and then found the correlation of spending difference to vote total difference. They didn’t present exact values of the statistical results, but the phrase “hardly matters at all” was the summary. Here’s the footnote, if you’re feeling ambitious:
The myth of campaign spending is told in greater detail in a trio of papers:
Steven D. Levitt, “Using Repeat Challengers to Estimate the Effect of Campaign
Spending on Election Outcomes in the U.S. House,” Journal of Political
Economy, August 1994, pp. 777–98; Steven D. Levitt, “Congressional
Campaign Finance Reform,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 9 (1995), pp.
183–93; and Steven D. Levitt and James M. Snyder Jr., “The Impact of Federal
Spending on House Election Outcomes,” Journal of Political Economy
105, no. 1 (1997), pp. 30–53.
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