Fact Sheet

6 reasons Mitt Romney's big money advantage is a big deal

The Republican's overflowing war chest hasn't helped him overtake Obama yet, but it could make a world of difference when the campaign hits the home stretch

Mitt Romney is opening up a big lead on President Obama in the money race, joining with the Republican National Committee to pull in more than $100 million in July, compared with $75 million for Obama and the Democratic National Committee. Romney has about $60 million more in the bank than Obama does, and that doesn't even include the Republican super PACs that are dumping tens of millions of dollars into the race. However, Romney's money advantage hasn't had a noticeable impact in national polls yet, which continue to show the two candidates running neck and neck. Still, Team Romney's fat bank account may still pay off. Here, six reasons Romney's superior fundraising gives him an advantage:

1. He can dominate the final months The "inescapable conclusion" is that Obama "is likely to be heavily outspent in the final three months of the campaign," say Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake at The Washington Post. Team Obama may well run out of money come September and October, allowing Romney to dominate advertising and drown out his opponent's message.

2. He can blanket the airwaves of swing states In August, Romney has "made up some ground in the swing states," according to recent polls, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. While part of Romney's bump could be attributed to his naming Paul Ryan as his running mate, it could also mean that "Romney's advertising advantage in swing states could be starting to pay dividends."

3. He can get out the vote Team Obama has "had to spend heavily on its vaunted grassroots infrastructure," which propelled Obama to victory in 2008, say Nicholas Confessore and Derek Willis at The New York Times. But now, Romney's cash advantage is allowing him to staff up and catch up to Obama's get-out-the-vote operation. Thanks to his side's bankroll, Romney has already started setting up offices and making bigger investments in Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, and other swing states.

4. He looks stronger Even if the race is close, Romney's money make it seem like he has an edge. The cash "is an important gauge of firepower saved up for future advertising or investments in hiring, offices, and events," say Alina Selyukh and Alexander Cohen at Reuters. Obama officials have even played off that dynamic, begging supporters to donate more because "they expect Romney to far out-raise the president."

5. He can brag about his financial prowess With Team Obama burning through cash — spending $60 million in July alone — Romney has taken to pointing out his own fiscal restraint. "We're a little wiser in our spending of dollars than the other side," he said at a recent fundraiser. "I'm not managing their campaign for them, but we're going to spend our money wisely. We're going to spend it to win."

6. He can boost other Republican candidates"At the presidential level, the role of money may be an over-reported story," says Steve Kornacki at Salon. Voters know who Obama and Romney are, and at this point, advertising and get-out-of-the-vote operations may make only minimal differences. However, the Republican advantage in fundraising — particularly with the advent of super PACs — clearly benefits the lesser known House and Senate candidates down the ballot. Obama "can survive in November even if he's outspent by a significant margin," but the "same isn't necessarily true" for other vulnerable Democrats.

Sources: CNNThe New York Times (2), Reuters, SalonThe Washington Post (2)

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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