Weeks after withdrawing television advertisements from the Michigan airways, the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore our Future announced Thursday that it will reinstate its advertisements beginning next week.
The advertisement purchase — which is part of a $12-million expenditure in nine battleground states — is one of the most extensive advertising campaigns for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney thus far, The New York Times reported.
The push could give Romney an advantage in crucial swing states, including Ohio, Florida and Colorado, where he has seen significant gains in the polls since the first presidential debate in Denver two weeks ago.
It could also offer Romney, who led President Barack Obama by seven points in a Gallup poll released Thursday, a broader path through the Electoral College to the White House, according to Aaron Kall, the director of the University’s debate program.
“That path is very narrow for Gov. Romney for that magic number of 270, so putting more states on the table will certainly increase the chance of getting to that number,” Kall said.
In the aftermath of Romney’s performance in the first debate — which Kall deemed a turning point in the election — races in states that were previously non-competitive, including Pennsylvania and Michigan, have become more contested.
Obama led by six points in Colorado prior to the Denver debate, but a Public Policy Polling survey released Thursday indicates his lead has shrunk to three points. Meanwhile, polls in Florida have shown Romney leading by as many as seven points.
On Thursday, in what appears to be a sign of confidence, the Romney campaign diverted resources from North Carolina, where Romney and Obama have been evenly matched, to states like Ohio, according to the Raleigh, N.C.-based News and Observer.
Political Science Prof. Michael Heaney said the Super PAC’s ad purchase was a response to fluctuating support, in which more battleground states are “within competitive range” for Romney.
“The electoral map has really changed,” Heaney said. “States that were considered out of reach for Romney are, all of a sudden, now within reach.”
The states Heaney said are winnable for Romney include Colorado, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Virginia, all of which are among the nine states the advertisements will target.
The $12-million expenditure consists of $1 million for Wisconsin and Iowa, $2.3 million for Florida and $2.5 million for Ohio, according to the Times. The report did not include the amount of funding that will be allocated to Michigan ads.
The race in Michigan has remained less contested than in other battleground states, though Romney has trimmed Obama’s lead with strong debate performances. Obama led Romney by a six-point margin of 52 percent to 46 percent in a Detroit News/WXYZ-TV poll of likely Michigan voters released Thursday, up from three points in a Detroit Free Press poll on Oct. 8, but down from a double-digit margin this summer.
While the margin between the candidates is larger in Michigan than in other states, Heaney and Kall agreed the expenditure could still benefit Romney’s campaign.
If the advertisements in Michigan tighten the race, Heaney said it could force the Obama campaign to spend additional resources or time in Michigan, diverting the campaign’s attention from closer swing states like Ohio.
“If you start running ads, what that also does is it forces Obama to defend Michigan,” Heaney said. “It seems unlikely that Romney will win Michigan, and I would bet money that Obama will win, but … still Michigan is back within competitive range.”
Kall said the advertisements could also bolster the Republican ticket in the state, from the race between Senator Debbie Stabenow (D–Mich.) and former Rep. Pete Hoesktra (R–Mich.) to the six ballot proposals.
“Even if it’s not likely that this is going to end up being a winning strategy, it’s worth spending that money because they have it,” Kall said. This strategy is not really going to hurt Gov. Romney’s ability to compete in these other states.”
Despite Romney’s deficit in the polls, LSA senior Jared Boot, chair of the University’s chapter of Students for Romney, wrote in a statement that he believes the state is winnable for the Republican presidential nominee.
“This race has been volatile but the number are starting to trend and solidify for Romney so the PACs are keeping the ads here now,” Boot wrote.