After all but conceding Michigan a week ago, Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s campaign has taken on an air of urgency, ramping up efforts in what they consider winnable toss-up states.
According to the Wisconsin Advertising Project, the McCain campaign spent $1.3 million on advertising in Michigan between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4. Democratic nominee Barack Obama enjoyed a 13 point lead in the state over McCain at the end of September, according to polling data from the Detroit Free Press. The campaign’s resources are now being funneled to other, more contentious swing states like Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Colorado and Nevada. Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and New Mexico are also closely contested.
Because both candidates were previously doting on Michigan, once considered a swing state, many analysts said McCain’s decision to pull out of the state marked a turning point in the election.
McCain spent time this week in Wisconsin and Virginia, and his schedule shows stops in Iowa in the coming week. His running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, spent the bulk of her week campaigning in Florida, also making stops in Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
McCain senior adviser Greg Strimple called last week’s decision to abandon the Michigan effort an easy one, as Obama’s lead was growing ever-wider in the state.
“It’s been the worst state of all the states that are in play and it’s an obvious one, from my perspective, to come off the list,” Strimple said.
According to University Prof. Michael Traugott, an political expert who works in the Communication Studies department, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has received poll boosts in swing states largely because of the nation’s economic crisis.
“Bad economic times are a very powerful source working against the party in power,” he said.
Because of the shift seen in the polls, Traugott said, McCain has gained a sense of urgency, partially reflected in a series of personal attacks against Obama.
The same Wisconsin Advertising Project study found that at the end of last month and beginning of this one, almost all of the McCain campaign’s ads were negative. Thirty-four percent of the Obama campaign’s ads during that same period were deemed negative by the study.