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Anti-'Obamacare' ad campaigns outspend supporters 3-to-1

June 18, 2012|By Morgan Little
  • Supporters of healthcare reform rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Supporters of healthcare reform rally in front of the Supreme Court in Washington,… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)

With anticipation building for the Supreme Court decision on President Obama’s healthcare reform law, a survey has found that advertising purchases opposed to the law more than tripled those in support of it, $250 million to $76 million.

The survey, conducted by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, shows just how dominant the anti-“Obamacare” movement’s advertising purchases have been since the president’s election in 2008. This year alone, opposition groups spent $14.2 million in their top 10 anti-reform markets, with a focus on heartland cities such as Cleveland, Columbus, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids and Detroit.

If the efficacy of the $250 million spent against the bill is in question, consider that the lopsided ad war is reflected in national opinion. A CBS/New York Times poll conducted earlier this month found that 68% of Americans want the Supreme Court to at least strike down the bill’s integral individual mandate, which would leave the financing of the bill’s provisions up in the air.

The lack of advertising in support of the bill is made even more prevalent by the fact that the Department of Health and Human Services accounts for 60% of pro-healthcare reform spending. With $46 million split among national campaigns ($29 million), cable ($14 million) and smaller buys in urban areas ($3 million), that leaves a mere $30 million spent over 3 1/2 years by every other pro-healthcare reform group nationwide.

Obama’s campaign, CMAG estimates, has spent just $703,000 so far in support of the healthcare bill, with mention of the legislation noticeably absent from a number of prominent ad campaigns.

But the Supreme Court, despite its record-setting unpopularity among voters, has been largely absent during this year’s political advertising binge. Beyond a mention by the Romney campaign in an ad against Rick Santorum during the primaries, the court hasn’t been referenced by either presidential campaign.

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morgan.little@latimes.com

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