President Obama's campaign was the early aggressor in the advertising wars, spending a fortune over the summer and early fall to define Mitt Romney as a heartless corporate raider who skimps on his taxes. Analysts say the Democrats' early-and-often attack ad campaign gave Obama an advantage that continues to be reflected in polls showing him with an edge over Romney in areas of likability and trustworthiness. However, Romney's dominant performance in the first presidential debate has tightened the race in several swing states, and the GOP campaign is hoping to capitalize on his momentum with a late advertising push that seeks to drown out Obama's message. "Swing states from Florida to Nevada are being swamped under a fresh tsunami of political advertising," says Catherine Philp at The Times of London:
Total spending [by the Romney campaign] has doubled and in some cases tripled in closely fought states such as Florida and Virginia over the past week. It was the first week since the campaign began that spending by Mr. Romney and his supporters exceeded that of President Obama…
Many strategists believe that [Romney's] campaign erred by holding back on spending in the summer and early autumn, ceding the advantage to President Obama and his relentless campaign of negative advertising against Mr. Romney's business record and character. The decision to reverse the gold rush until now might have come too late for Republicans were it not for the boost that Mr. Romney received from his decisive win in the first debate.
So, will Romney's late advertising blitz work? Republicans say the ads could help sway undecided voters in critical states like Ohio, but they could also backfire, says The Associated Press:
The TV ads come in rapid succession and at all hours — in the middle of newscasts, soap operas, and talk shows. They cover everything from jobs to education to trust, and they're sharply negative.
It's all enough to turn off voters, leaving them frustrated and annoyed.
Indeed, two out of every three commercials on ABC's affiliate in Cleveland will soon either "hawk a candidate or a cause," says Celeste Katz at New York Daily News. And even if the ads are effective, it's a lot of money to throw around for a tiny slice of the electorate.