This is quite the remarkable turn of events. Arizona is a must-win state for Trump, and yet here he is, mere weeks before people stop voting, and they’ve pulled their ads.
On Thursday, records filed with the Federal Communications Commission by Phoenix-area television stations showed that the Trump campaign cancelled all of its ads between Sept. 8 and Sept. 14. The air time totaled approximately $580,000 in the Phoenix media market, which includes most of the state except for the areas surrounding Tucson and Yuma.
$580,000. That’s not exactly mega-bucks for presidential campaigns expected to spend half-a-billion dollars or more. And yet there is the Trump campaign, counting its pennies. And Tucson?
FCC records also show that the Trump campaign stopped advertising on Tucson television stations about two weeks ago.
Two weeks ago! How many more battlegrounds are being shortchanged by Trump’s flailing, cash-poor campaign?
Furthermore, this doesn’t just mean that the campaign is short on cash now, it means that the campaign’s fundraising status is such, that the campaign has no confidence that it can go the distance without serious cost-cutting.
Meanwhile, over at Biden HQ:
xNEW: Biden campaign turns his Pittsburgh speech into a TV adWill run nationally on cable networks + 9 battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and WisconsinCampaign is spending $45 million on digital + TV ads pic.twitter.com/aWbQRQSLiM— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) September 2, 2020
Long-time readers will know about my skepticism over TV advertising. Public opinion simply doesn’t change, not on presidential preferences, and certainly not via a 60-second television ad. Nearly 200,000 dead have cost Trump a net three points in his job approval, according to the Civiqs daily tracking poll. If we’re lucky, the latest revelations of Trump grossly insulting our troops will cost him maybe another 1-2 points. If we’re lucky.
But that’s a separate debate. Fact is, presidential campaigns advertise. And if they don’t, it’s because they don’t have the money to do so. That goes extra for Trump, who was forcing his campaign to advertise in indigo blue Washington DC so he could watch himself during his copious daily TV time.
So how does the Trump campaign spin away this embarrassing admission of poverty? “With a permanent presence in the state since 2016, Arizonans have heard from the Trump campaign for years and know about the wins President Trump’s America First agenda has delivered for them in just one term,” said campaign spokeswoman Samantha Zager.
Okay then! Arizonas already know who he is! Mission accomplished! Except that …
The Economist’s Arizona polling aggregate, Biden leading Trump 52.2 to 47.8.
According to the polling aggregate, Biden is leading Trump is Arizona 52 to 48. The last two polls of the race have both given Biden massive leads in the state: 52-42 from Morning Consult, and 49-40 Fox freakin’s news.
So if we were to take that spokeswoman literally, we’d have to assume she’s saying “Arizonans know Trump well and they don’t like him and are going to vote for the other guy, so we’re cutting and running. See you somewhere else, maybe!”
In truth, they had to say something, and that’s about as good a line of bullshit as any. There really is no way to plausibly explain this away.
We’ll know in less than two weeks just how pitiful Trump’s cash position has become. Given the latest obvious cash-cutting moves, it can’t be that good.