Romney May Outspend Obama but Not Beat Him in November Election
Skeptics might urge that the theme for both presidential campaigns be yanked from Cabaret, when the master of ceremonies (Joel Grey) regales Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) with, “Money makes the world go around, the world go around, the world go around.”
The crowd cheers as US President Barack Obama (C) gives a thumbs up to supporters after delivering remarks during a campaign event at the Alliant Energy Amphitheater in Dubuque, Iowa, August 15, 2012, during his three-day campaign bus tour across the state. (Jim Watson, AFP / Getty Images)
“Money, money, money, money, money, money” is the chorus.
But is it really what will determine whether President Obama or Mitt Romney wins?
Tracked down at a recent Chicago White Sox game, Obama strategist David Axelrod repeated a recent refrain: he’s worried, very worried. In particular, he’s anxious about being outspent 3-1 on television by Romney and by the much-chronicled Romney advantage via so-called super PACs.
“We’re dwarfed by the resources they have,” said Axelrod.
But how much difference might a bona fide financial gap really make?
Axelrod tempered his concern by conceding that a money advantage can mean less in a presidential race than in most other political races, given the huge amount of free coverage the candidates receive and that coverage’s possible impact on voters.
Indeed, interviews with consultants from both parties and academics who study elections suggest that the media’s quasi-obsession with the horse race of contributions may be misguided. The razor-sharp focus on contribution totals may be even more errant in a race where, both polling and many observers suggest, the majority of voters have largely made up their minds.