domingo, 5 de agosto de 2012

Demasiado dinero gastado, demasiado pronto

(Foto: Reuters)

The New York Times nos cuenta que algunos demócratas están preocupados porque Obama gestiona el dinero de la campaña igual de mal que el dinero del gobierno:
President Obama has spent more campaign cash more quickly than any incumbent in recent history, betting that heavy early investments in personnel, field offices and a high-tech campaign infrastructure will propel him to victory in November.

Since the beginning of last year, Mr. Obama and the Democrats have burned through millions of dollars to find and register voters. They have spent almost $50 million subsidizing Democratic state parties to hire workers, pay for cellphones and update voter lists. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on polling, online advertising and software development to turn Mr. Obama’s fallow volunteers corps into a grass-roots army.

The price tag: about $400 million from the beginning of last year to June 30 this year, according to a New York Times analysis of Federal Election Commission records, including $86 million on advertising.

But now Mr. Obama’s big-dollar bet is being tested. With less than a month to go before the national party conventions begin, the president’s once commanding cash advantage has evaporated, leaving Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee with about $25 million more cash on hand than the Democrats as of the beginning of July.

(...) While Mr. Obama will also have access to general election money in September, he is unlikely to have the same spending advantage over Mr. Romney as he had during the primary season, when Mr. Romney spent much of his money battling Republican rivals.

And with August a traditionally slow month for fund-raising, Mr. Obama has bombarded his supporters in recent weeks with increasingly urgent pleas for money, mindful that he will need to drastically raise his cash intake in the coming months merely to equal his record-breaking haul from 2008.

(...) Mr. Obama’s heavy expenditures — and his campaign’s pressure on bundlers to find and groom new donors — have stirred worries among other Democrats, who have long taken Mr. Obama’s financial supremacy for granted.

“There is a lot of worry that Romney’s folks are raising so much more,” said one of Mr. Obama’s top fund-raisers, who did not want to be identified as discussing internal campaign business. “I just don’t think there’s a lot of high-dollar money left on the table.”

Otros, en cambio, creen que el haber gastado mucho y pronto les dará ventaja en noviembre:
“The earlier the better,” said Adam Fetcher, an Obama campaign spokesman. “Starting a conversation with a persuadable voter months before Election Day allows us to be more effective in responding to that voter’s priorities than if they first hear from us a few weeks out. Building and maintaining our grass-roots foundation takes time and resources, but we believe those early investments will make a difference.”

But grass-roots movements do not come cheap.

Through June 30, Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee had spent $46 million on direct mail and postage, according to F.E.C. records. Legal fees added up to $3 million, while $25,000 went to flower arrangements. Phones and telemarketing have eaten up at least $24 million, and Internet advertising $36 million, part of a sophisticated effort to try out different fund-raising appeals, test attacks on Mr. Romney and reach small donors. The campaign reached two million total donors in May, a campaign official said, a tally it did not reach until August during the 2008 election cycle.

(...) The campaign has opened field offices far earlier than past campaigns in swing communities around the country, hiring people to train volunteers, find pockets of Democrats and identify voters who might be persuaded to vote for Mr. Obama in November. With staff members in virtually every state, the Obama campaign and the D.N.C. have spent $52 million on payroll and benefits since the beginning of last year, along with $5 million for rent.

In the bellwether city of Chillicothe, Ohio, Mr. Obama’s team opened a field office eight months earlier than it did during the 2008 cycle, a party official said on Thursday, allowing the campaign to spend far longer courting those voters still on the fence.

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