I mentioned earlier today that there were lots of anecdotal reports about pro-GOP SuperPACs dumping money in places where there don’t seem to be seriously contested elections. Dallas, Chicago, just places where it’s really hard to figure there’s any real bang for the buck, to put it mildly.The overall take I had this morning still seems basically right to me — more money left than they have things to spend it on and you don’t want any left over on Wednesday, plus the people running the PACs usually bag nice commissions on the spends. But the details seem like they might be a bit different.
This is just what I’ve picked up from anecdotal reports and some cursory reporting. So please keep that important caveat in mind. But the sense I’m getting now is that much of these are simply national buys. In other words, it’s not playing in Chicago or Dallas. It’s playing nationwide. It just gets noticed more in places that are pure red or pure blue and aren’t used to seeing any presidential ads.
Not all national buys, mind you. TPM Reader SB says he’s seen saturation buys the last two nights in New Mexico and adds that actually seem to target New Mexico in their content — which makes it seems less likely that they’re really designed to bleed over into a sliver of Colorado.
The logic here would be roughly the same. It appears there’s simply nothing left to buy in the critical states. And SuperPacs lack some of the preferential treatment campaigns get. So basically all that’s left is national buys. Of course, this is a massively inefficient way to spend money. I would figure at least 75% of it is pure waste — broadcast into uncontested states, and probably considerably more than that. And yet it all makes sense if you figure in the key parts of the equation — you have to spend it before election day (not legally but in practice), it’s extremely difficult for SuperPACs to spend on ground moblization and you get you big time commission whether you spend it on Ohio or pour it down the drain.