Trump re-election campaign makes huge Florida TV ad buy
By ANTHONY MAN SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL JUN 30, 2020 AT 2:07 PM
President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, which is seeing warnings that he’s vulnerable in Florida and other critical states, has gone on a buying binge of TV ad time for the final months of the campaign. The ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics reported a huge Trump campaign TV ad buy on Monday: $95 million in six states for ads starting the day after Labor Day through Election Day. Florida accounts for more than one-third of the ad time the Trump campaign bought on Monday for the final fall push: $32 million.Based on the latest ad time it bought, the Trump campaign is planning its biggest advertising pushes in two areas of the state that are often seen as the most up for grabs: Tampa Bay and Orlando-Daytona Beach. The Interstate 4 corridor in the central part of the state is highly contested by both sides in statewide elections.
Figures from Advertising Analytics show the Trump campaign bought $12.2 million in the Tampa Bay television market for ads from Labor Day through Election Day. In Orlando, it bought $8.8 million for the fall push. Trump also is spending heavily in the state’s most expensive TV market: Miami-Fort Lauderdale, which is in line for $5.9 million of September, October and November advertising. South Florida is the state’s Democratic stronghold, and Biden will win the region. But Trump still needs to turn out Republican votes in the region to hold down the Democrats’ margin. Advertising Analytics found the Trump campaign bought $2.4 million in the Jacksonville market in northeast Florida and $2.9 million in the Fort Myers-Naples market in southwest Florida. Those are large investments in areas of the state in which TV time is much less expensive than the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market. Trump won the southwest Florida market by some 24 percentage points in 2016.
Update: in total we saw $95.3M spent by the Trump campaign today in six states, by far his biggest single spending day this election cycle. #Election2020 https://t.co/3ZzLRqdfjo
— Advertising Analytics (@Ad_Analytics) June 29, 2020
The reason for the spending is clear. Florida is essential for Trump to win re-election. Florida is the largest of the half-dozen swing states that could go either way in November and determine which candidate wins. It awards 29 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, and important statewide elections are almost always exceedingly close. In 2016, for example, Trump won 49% of the vote statewide to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 47.8%. There are signs of weakness for Trump. Two high-quality public opinion polls, from The New York Times/Siena College and from Fox News, on Thursday and Friday showed Trump trailing Biden in Florida. The RealClearPolitics average of the five most recent public polls in Florida has Biden 7 points ahead of Trump.
It’s also personal for Trump. Long before becoming president he enjoyed spending time in the state, and has golf courses and other Florida properties, including his prized Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. Last year, when he got mad at New York, he said he considered Florida as his permanent residence. The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. On Tuesday afternoon, the Florida press secretary for the Republican National Committee issued a statement with the subject line, “President Trump’s Great American Comeback Defies Expectations.” Both sides have been advertising in Florida. Two weeks ago, the Biden campaign announced its first major spending in the state, concentrating on Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and the Panhandle, where it hopes to win over some people who voted for Trump in 2016.
Advertising Analytics reported $654,000 in June advertising from the Trump campaign, and said it’s bought another $981,000 for July. The Trump campaign buying spree on Monday included spending in four of the five other battlegrounds: Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The sixth battleground, Michigan a state that polling and analysts increasingly see as tough for Trump to win, is not on the list of states in which his campaign bought time on Monday. Trump did buy advertising time in Ohio, which is significant because Trump won that state by 8 points in 2016. Spending there indicates a desire by the Trump campaign to shore up its position. On Friday, Advertising Analytics reported the Trump campaign was buying ad time in Georgia, which has gone Republican in every presidential election since 1992.