President Trump’s cutting back on campaign commercials in some of the key Midwestern battlegrounds that helped him win the White House four years ago – and shifting resources to a bunch of crucial swing states further south.
The president’s re-election campaign has dropped roughly $2 million in ad reservations in Michigan and Wisconsin since last month, according to Advertising Analytics , Medium Buying, and Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group , three leading ad tracking firms. Trump narrowly won the two states in 2016, breaking a quarter century long winning streak by Democrats.
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The Trump campaign is also currently dark on local TV in Ohio and Iowa, two states he convincingly flipped from blue to red four years ago. And the re-election team is chopping approximately $5 million from its fall TV budget in Minnesota, a state that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016 but that the president was targeting this year.
The Trump campaign’s moving its money south.
Pointing to what he called a “sun belt strategy,” Advertising Analytics vice president John Link told Fox News that “over the last month, the president’s moved $22 million out of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio – and its added $19.8 million to the swing states of Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign is currently running ads in the Midwestern states where the Trump campaign is cutting back. And in recent weeks the former vice president’s team has boosted its ad buys in both Iowa and Ohio, which were not considered competitive states at the beginning of the 2020 cycle.
The move by the Trump campaign comes as the Biden campaign entered September with a massive $141 million cash on hand advantage over Trump. But the president’s re-election team still has millions of dollars reserved to purchase TV time in the Midwestern battlegrounds through the Nov. 3 election. But those reservations are not written in stone – and can be canceled during the remaining four weeks left before Election Day.
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The Trump campaign – in defending its ad buying strategy – appeared to argue that the Biden campaign was relying too heavily on TV advertising.
“If overspending on TV ads determined the outcome of elections, Hillary Clinton would be president — but it’s cute that Joe Biden and his campaign think buying ads in these states makes up for years of Democrats viewing them as flyover country,” Trump campaign deputy national press secretary Samantha Zager told Fox News. “Biden can try to buy votes, but President Trump and his campaign will continue earning them on the ground and on the airwaves — and come November, we’ll be celebrating victory while Biden binge watches his TV ads from his basement.”
The Trump campaign dominated the ad wars from the start of the general election campaign in April through July. But since the beginning of August, the Biden campaign has outspent their rivals each week to run TV spots. It’s a closer contest when it comes to digital ads, with the Biden team slightly outspending the Trump campaign the past two months.
An average of the latest polling in Michigan and Wisconsin indicates Biden with a mid-single digit advantage over the president, and the former vice president leading by nearly 10 points in Minnesota. The latest average of polling in Ohio and Iowa indicate the two presidential nominees all knotted up.