There is a fascinating part of the New York Times site that is monitoring television advertisement spending during the US presidential election. Obama has spent $207,410,911 as of 1.30 pm UK time; in sharp contrast McCain has spent $119,906,703. This is almost 50% less so he has done pretty well to keep even given the disparity. Now there could be differences in strategy, targeting for example of specific media outlets or programmes during which the ad will be shown. Obama may have seen a need to get wider coverage, more exposure, than McCain. Obama may also have seen a need to respond more to McCain's attacks as well as putting out positive messages. But given that many of the ads are available online, 25 new ones appearing on the Obama Youtube channel yesterday alone, the spend is phenomenal.
Advertising can be dismissed as being able to transmit peripheral cues only, nothing substantial. But there have been a lot of issue based ads with Obama winning on all issues except for The Budget and and Energy/Environment, surprisingly he even wins on international affairs, not perceived as a strength of his. The targeting is also highly strategic. In Columbus Ohio, a marginal district in a swing state, Obama has spent $3.9mill to McCain's $2.9mill. But the most phenomenal thing has to be that the money spent by Obama has been donated by the public and not funded by the state or lobbyists and big business.