Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jumping the Gun

Going on the air now if he can't stay on straight through the election is a mistake for Pat McCrory.

He need look no further than several examples already in this cycle:

-Elizabeth Dole made a large ad buy in June, and it did improve her numbers significantly. But after a month off her numbers are right back where they were before. It didn't have any long term impact for her and now that money's gone.

-Richard Moore went on more than three months prior to the primary, but then had to go off for a while. During that period Bev Perdue stayed on. Her lead expanded into the 20s in both PPP and Survey USA's polls.

Going on for the next ten days may give McCrory a temporary boost. In fact if Perdue stays off during that period I wouldn't even be shocked if McCrory is tied or has a small lead in our next poll.

But this $150,000 expenditure reflects more than 20% of McCrory's COH through the end of June. Surely he's raised a lot more money since then but that doesn't change the fact that he's at a significant fundraising deficit relative to her. When October comes around and Perdue's spending him out of the water, whatever bonus he gets from this Olympic media buy is going to be long forgotten.

I think he would have been better off saving the money for the stretch run. But campaigns get panicky and that's just part of the game.

By the way, the gold medal for spending discipline this year goes to Janet Cowell. David Young went on tv a few weeks earlier than her in April and took the lead after Cowell had held it since the field was settled. Cowell held back and did a lot of media the last week, and coasted to a victory with a healthy margin.

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