When you have to pay to get your name out there, at that price, you know you’re already losing… compared to what Trump is doing.
In the earliest phase of her air war against Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has placed her biggest bets on Orlando, Denver, and Raleigh.
Those three markets in battleground states are where the Democratic presidential candidate has most heavily run her first wave of general-election broadcast television ads, a Bloomberg Politics analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data shows.
The review also shows how the top super-PAC backing her, Priorities USA, is allowing her to conserve resources by covering certain markets almost entirely for her.
In Nevada, for example, Clinton has run just three spots during the past two weeks in Las Vegas, as compared to the 502 spots the campaign has aired in the cheaper market of Reno. The heavy lifting in Las Vegas has been left to Priorities USA, which has run 380 spots.
The data offers a first glimpse into Clinton’s general-election advertising strategy, as well as her campaign’s view of the 2016 Electoral College map. It stands in stark contrast to the advertising-free approach of her Republican rival.
“Advertising is reality,” said Ken Goldstein, a University of San Francisco professor who is a Bloomberg Politics polling and advertising analyst. “Campaigns can talk about states being competitive or not competitive, but where they put their TV dollars reveals what they really think.”
Campaigns sometimes test their ads in less expensive markets before venturing into more expensive ones, so that could explain why Clinton hasn’t yet advertised in certain areas within the battleground states, Goldstein said.
The Clinton campaign advertising shows no signs of tapering off. Among some of her bigger advertising reservations set to air during the first two weeks of July are $2.7 million on national cable and satellite television targeting specific markets and states, $1.1 million in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market and $853,000 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Clinton’s July advertising in Charlotte will roughly coincide with a joint appearance she’s scheduled to make there next week with President Barack Obama.
Leveraging her fundraising advantage, Clinton ran almost 10,000 spots in first 12 days of her advertising buy, broadcasting in more than two dozen markets that cover nine battleground states. Trump didn’t run a single ad during the period.