The PJ Tatler

Is Romney Giving Up in Michigan and Pennsylvania?

The headline at Talking Points Memo yesterday was an eye-opener:

Romney, GOP Groups Pull Ads From Michigan and Pennsylvania

The story was based on an article in the Detroit News.

Mitt Romney’s conservative allies are bypassing Michigan with their advertising while stepping up efforts in other battleground states — suggesting campaign strategists don’t believe his road to the White House leads through his native state.

The pro-Romney groups American Crossroads and Americans for Prosperity are pouring nearly $13 million into advertising in key states, indicating they remain eager to lend considerable financial muscle to Romney in states viewed as truly competitive.

There are no presidential campaign ads of any kind airing in Pennsylvania and Michigan, according to information provided by media trackers to the Associated Press.

One reason the Romney forces may have pulled money out of Michigan is President Barack Obama’s campaign and a political action committee supporting his re-election aren’t spending here either, said Rich Robinson, director of Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

“You don’t spend money if you know you’re going to win or you know you’re going to lose, and Obama hasn’t spent five cents” in Michigan, Robinson said.

In other battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, the race is more fluid than in Michigan where Obama’s lead in the polls has remained “status quo,” said GOP political strategist Greg McNeilly.

A recent Detroit News/WDIV Local 4 poll showed Obama up 5.5 percentage points, while Public Policy Polling found the president leading by 7 percentage points this week.

“If the (polling) data says you’re not getting a return at present, then you move it to where you get a higher return,” McNeilly said. “That in no way means that Michigan is over.”

While the Romney campaign has spent almost no money on advertising in either state, conservative groups have spent $10.9 million this election cycle on broadcast television ads targeting Obama or touting Romney, according to new data collected by Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

The last pro-Romney TV ad in Michigan was a $528,000 spot Restore Our Future political action committee bought last month during the Olympics touting the former Massachusetts governor’s efforts to revive the fledgling 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Robinson said.

It should be noted that the blogger at TPM really needs to get himself into a remedial reading course. First of all, Romney didn’t pull any ads in Michigan … because he had none to pull; he hadn’t even advertised there.

Secondly, with Obama not advertising in Michigan or Pennsylvania at the moment, it makes sense to hold off investing in those states until the last few weeks. That way, if Romney remains in a competitive position, he can target either or both states (not likely) to see if he could pick them off. Michigan would appear to be the more viable target, as Pennsylvania would only fall to Romney if he wins the popular vote by a considerable margin.

Jennifer Rubin isn’t buying the Romney desertion:

When the Romney-Ryan ticket announced a major ad campaign in eight states last night, the media noted that Wisconsin and Michigan were not among them and then jumped to the conclusion that these states are no longer in play. Wrong. Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told Right Turn that the campaign is “definitely not” abandoning these states. She told me: “Stay tuned.”

The Romney-Ryan camp, I was told, has expensive ground games in these states, as well as in Pennsylvania. Saul provided the stats:


* 21 offices across the state

* More than 1 million voter contacts

* Sixth most voter contacts in the country

* Knocked on more than 100,000 doors


* 23 offices across Pennsylvania

* More voter contacts last week than any other week this cycle

* More than 1.5 million voter contacts

* Fourth most voter contacts in the country

* Knocked on more than 200,000 doors

It sure sounds like Romney is in both states till the finish. The fact that the superPACS have pulled out means little. They can always jump back in if the conditions are right.

The one worrying thing about this is that it shows just how hard it will be for Romney to overcome even small leads in individual states by Obama. With so many voters having already made up their minds, catching up in any state will be hard to do.

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