US gears up for most expensive ballot ever

US gears up for most expensive ballot ever

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Hurriyet Daily News
US gears up for most expensive ballot ever

US Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a rally at Celina Fieldhouse in Celina, Ohio, October 28, 2012. Hurricane Sandy shadowed. AFP Photo

If it’s not going to be the most thrilling U.S. presidential election, it will surely be the most expensive one, at least in terms of commercials. The amount of money spent on TV ads alone has already hit $900 million and is expected to surpass $1 billion by Election Day on Nov. 6.

“Throughout the campaign, both camps spent $888 million just on the TV ads. Nearly 20 percent of this money has been spent in Ohio. We are talking a huge influx of money for the television channels. Some of them made 20 [million], 30 [million] even 40 million dollars. In a normal election, that would not happen,” Paul Beck, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Ohio State University, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Nov. 1. Beck is a renowned professor who focuses on voting behavior, political parties and political communications.

2012 polls to cost $5 bln

The overall 2012 presidential and congressional elections will cost nearly $5.8 billion, half a billion more than the 2008 race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. “It’s going to be the most expensive elections by all means.”

However, in public places it’s hard to observe the election atmosphere as presidential candidates tend to advertise on television channels to reach out to more people beyond their modest rallies. And more importantly, these TV ads are not run with the same frequency and intensity in every state. According to a report prepared by Kantar Media/CMAG with analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project, 9,950 ads from both camps were broadcast in Denver between Oct. 1 and 21 alone. Swing state Florida’s largest cities, Tampa and Miami, follow Denver with 7,992 and 7,523 ads, respectively, while television channels in Columbus and Cincinnati – both in Ohio – aired more than 13,000 ads in three weeks.

“Ohio still seems to be swinging, that’s why a lot of attention is being paid to Ohio. The same attention is being paid to Virginia, but Ohio is a lot larger,” Beck said, referring to Ohio’s 18 Electoral College votes, which are crucial in helping the winner reach the required 270 vote threshold to win the election. “It’s conceivable that whoever wins Ohio will win the presidency,” he said.

However, the nature of politics does not give the ticket to the White House to those who spend the most money, meaning that both politicians frequently visit swing states to attract more votes.

Romney has visited Ohio more than 40 times, while Obama has come to the state nearly once every week. Ohio voted for Obama in 2008 after choosing Republican candidate George W. Bush for two consecutive elections. In 1996, it voted for the Bill Clinton/Al Gore duo.

Ohio key to victory

Given the tight nature of the fight, the Ohio Democratic Party does not want to leave the elections to chance and is instead following the intentions of the state’s 7.7 million constituents very closely.
“I count every vote, I track every voter and I do it every day,” Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, told the Daily News on Nov. 1 in Columbus. Redfern said that in the age of the Internet the political campaigns have become permanent.

“Koch Brothers may be very good businessmen but they are horrible campaign experts,” he said, referring to a leading business group who gave huge financial support to Romney. “After the elections, after Mitt Romney loses, they are going away for two years [until midterm elections]. We stay, the party remains,” he said. Nearly 750 people, mostly volunteers, are working for the Democratic Party.
Another reason Obama is hopeful about winning Ohio is his bailout plan for the automotive sector that was passed through Congress despite Republican opposition. “Obama saved the automotive industry in 2009. His plan generated 700,000 new jobs,” said party spokesman Jared Kurtz adding that Obama was leading by 2 to 4 percent in seven different polls conducted in the last 48 hours.

Chinese favors Obama, Israelis favor Romney

HONG KONG – Agence France-Presse

Citizens of China and Japan overwhelmingly support President Barack Obama to win a second term, according to an AFP-Ipsos poll, which suggests Mitt Romney’s tough talk on the Asian powers could have dented his image.

 The U.S. elections may be a toss-up at home but the survey carried out by Ipsos Hong Kong found a whopping 86 percent of Japanese back the Democrat incumbent compared to only 12.3 percent for Republican party candidate Romney. Romney has repeatedly vowed to brand Beijing a “currency manipulator” on his first day in office.

Israelis meanwhile have come out strongly in favor of Romney as 57 percent believe that when it comes to Israel’s interests, Romney would be the best president, compared with 22 percent for Obama. On the Palestinian side, there is little enthusiasm about the polls, according to analysts.