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Nor were they outspent "eight to one" or "ten to one" or whatever.  In the election to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker and replace him with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Democrats were probably outspent by about 5 to 2, at least as far as I can tell from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, or maybe by 3.36 to 1.  While there seems to be some uncertainty about the exact figures,  there doesn't seem to be any way the spending ratio was as high as is often claimed, once you account for the outside and independent spending that we all agree is important to account for.  And four different analyses of Wisconsin television advertising give similar ratios.

I keep seeing the "seven to one" ratio thrown around over and over again by smart people, and we really need to try to correct the record.  I can understand why this became a meme on this and other liberal blogs, but we should get this sort of thing right.  Barrett and the Democrats really did get outspent, but I don't think it will benefit anyone's case to exaggerate or to tell an incomplete story.  Conservatives are having a great time debunking this.  And it's especially silly for anyone to be throwing that figure around while complaining about "Citizens United", as I'll explain in the main body.

Overall Spending:

I apologize if this has been well-covered, but I think it bears repeating.

This diary by Lawrence Lewis quotes the work of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign to establish the "ten to one" ratio.  But he's only looking at the spending by the campaigns themselves, and not at outside spending.

Now, honestly, I can't get these figures from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's own website, and I'm a little wary of their numbers--see below--but here's what the group's Executive Director said a few days ago:

The Madison group, which tracks campaign spending, estimates that when final reports are made to state election officials, they will show about $80 million has been spent on behalf of both candidates in the governor's race. That would more than double the $37.4 million record set in the 2010 governor's race between the same candidates.

According to Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Executive Director Mike McCabe, campaigns and special interests on both sides engaged in "something akin to a nuclear arms race" to round up money to spend on advertisements targeting a minute percentage of undecided voters.

Exit polls from CNN showed 86 percent of voters had made up their mind more than a month before the election.

With more than a year's head start, the campaign for successful incumbent Gov. Scott Walker spent more than $47 million, according to McCabe. The losing Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, spent $19 million.

(My emphasis.)

Now, perhaps that will change with "final reports", but there's obviously no way for this to become an "eight to one" ratio, right?  $47:$19 is about 5:2, as far as ratios go.  It might be more like 47:18.5 or 47:18.4, e.g., here:

Update, (June 7, 12:33 pm): Outside groups made a final spending blitz on the weekend before the recall vote. According to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, outside spending, which includes independent expenditures and issue ad buys, now totals roughly $33.5 million.

Of this sum, Walker supporters outspent Barrett supporters $18 million to $15.5 million.

The report that Lewis' diary linked to gave Walker's spending as $29 million and Barret's as about $2.9 million, so that gives $47 million for Walker and the Republicans, and $18.4 million for Barrett and the Democrats.  The 18/15.5 figures are repeated here.

Granted, an earlier report quoting McCabe apparently made some big mistakes, although I'm not sure if they were the Democracy Campaign's problem.  I've been looking for independent sources for an overall spending analysis.  But even that PR Watch story says:

According to initial estimates, an astonishing $63.5 million was spent on the recall election, and $45 million of that sum -- more than 70 percent -- came from Walker's campaign and supporters. [...] In light of these facts, claiming "the parties' mountains of money are about even" in an article published just two weeks before the gubernatorial election left readers with serious misconceptions, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) first reported.
Reason for Skepticism?:

This NYT article has similar numbers from May 21st: $45.6 million for Republicans, $17.9 million for Democrats.  

One caveat is that they include $4.5 million by Wisconsin for Falk.  It's possible that this is double-counting, since, over at the Campaign's site, Wisconsin for Falk has precisely the same amount listed as "anti-Walker" spending as they have listed as "pro-Falk" spending--presumably, a single ad or ad campaign that someone thought fit both categories.

Of course, such double-counting might well be inflating spending reports on both sides.  Here is the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's list of gubernatorial independent expenditures.  Looking only at Walker and Barrett, I only see $8,939,615.49 in pro-Walker or anti-Barrett spending, while I see $8,455,208.07 in anti-Walker or pro-Barrett spending just from the "Greater Wisconsin Political Independent Expenditure Fund" and "We Are Wisconsin".  There might be some of that double-counting all around, though, with several of those groups having similar "pro" and "anti" expenditures.

I suspect some of this is simply that they haven't updated that table to account for the final spending.  I'd really like to find an independent analysis, other than the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's, to check all this against.  

Even if that was the sole extent of the independent spending, though, that'd be about $38 million for Walker and the Republicans and about $11.3 million for Barrett and the Democrats, or a ratio of about 3.36.  It's also possible that the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign knows what it's doing, and isn't double-counting in its most-recent totals.

The broader point?  There's every reason to think that outside spending was reasonably competitive between Democratic and Republican groups, and that it was a significant portion of the race's spending.  Whatever the details of the accounting, I think that means reporting only on the campaigns' own spending is misleading--and it means the most comprehensive spending ratio will be significantly less than the admittedly dramatic ratio between Walker's own campaign spending and Barrett's.

Advertising Spending:

Despite the concerns that raises, I'm pretty confident that the above spending ratios are probably close to correct.  Why?  Because that 5-2 ratio is broadly consistent with this independent, as far as I know, report on advertising, which wouldn't have the same classification problem:

Walker, the Republican Governors Association, and independent tea party groups and other grassroots fiscal conservative organizations have spent around $2.484 million to run ads in the recall campaign over the past week, according to data provided to its clients by Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group, a company that tracks and estimates the costs of campaign television ads.

That's more than double the $1.125 million Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker's Democratic challenger, Democratic Party committees and independent progressive groups have spent to run commercials from last Monday through Sunday. Overall nearly $3.6 million has been spent to flood Wisconsin airwaves with recall spots the past week.

[...]

The Republican advantage in ad spending is not just a one-week phenomenon. Dating back to November 1, Walker and his Republican allies have spent $12.3 million to run ads, more than double the $5.6 million spent by Barrett and his Democratic allies. Overall, more than $18 million has been shelled out to run recall related spots since the beginning of November.

(Again, my emphasis.)

That's a very similar ratio--12.3/5.6 is about 2.2, and 47/18.5 is about 2.5.

Now, this apparently-independently-sourced Hotline analysis, via this MotherJones post, dates from May 25, but has different and larger numbers (for both parties):

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican allies have outspent Democrat Tom Barrett and supportive groups more than 3-1 on TV ad buys during the three months leading up to the June 5 recall election, according to a Hotline On Call analysis.

Walker's campaign, which has raised a record $25 million+ for the recall campaign, spent over $7 million for TV buys from March 20 through Election Day, according to a source tracking ad buys in the state. In anticipation of the recall, the governor has been on the air since last December, with spots touting his record, including his controversial budget repair bill curbing collective bargaining for public employees. In total, Walker's campaign has spent over $12 million on recall election campaign ads.

The numbers quoted for March 20-June 5th are $17.5 million by Walker and Republicans, and $5.8 million by Barrett and Democrats.  Even so, that's a 3:1 ratio, which is also pretty close to the alleged overall spending ratio of 47:18.4 or so.

Moreover, these last reports contradict the idea that Walker and the Republicans had "unanswered" television dominance or whatnot.  Again, Barrett and the Democrats were outspent, but by 2:1 or 3:1, not by 8:1.

Here's a Madison-specific report:

In the final days of the recall campaign, Democrats finally stepped up their spending on the Madison airwaves, thanks largely to the Greater Wisconsin Committee, an independent group financed primarily by labor unions and other big donors.

Greater Wisconsin’s heavy TV ad buys in the final days of the recall race means Tom Barrett's candidacy remains greatly overmatched but not swamped by Gov. Scott Walker’s record-breaking ad campaign.

I think I added up the figures in there, and they give Barrett and the Democrats as spending $216,475 in the Madison market, with Walker and the Republicans spending $585,495--a ratio of about 2.7.

Here's a report on the Milwaukee media market:

Walker out-spends Barrett 2-to-1 on Milwaukee TV

Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and his supporters are out-spending Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett by more than two-to-one in the Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin television market, where about $6.3 million has been spent in the weeks leading up to the June 5 recall election.

Walker’s TV commercial spending in the Milwaukee market does not match his five-to-one fundraising advantage over Democratic challenger Barrett. Both campaigns also are buying time in the state’s other television markets: Madison, Green Bay/Fox Valley, La Crosse, Eau Claire and Wausau.

Nevertheless, Walker and his supporters have bought television time with a gross value of nearly $4.4 million since early May, according to records reviewed June 1 at Milwaukee’s four local news stations and Time Warner Cable. Barrett and his supporters spent $1.9 million.

Here's maps of the media markets for Wisconsin.

4.4 to 1.9 is a ratio of about 2.3.  It seems likely to me that the television advertising ratios would be similar to the campaign spending ratios, if not more favorable to Walker and the Republicans, if the election was indeed "TV Ad Spending vs. Boots On The Ground".

Of course, that article mentions a $10 million expenditure by Americans for Prosperity, linking to this CNN story, that I'm not sure is in the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's table.  Of course, I already figured that table was incomplete.  I also don't necessarily believe them, or know what exactly that includes.  This "iWatch News" article suggests that the Campaign is aware of (some version of) Americans for Prosperity:

Then there are issue ad groups which raise and spend unlimited funds, and do not register or disclose their spending. However, they are barred from urging voters to support or oppose a candidate.

The Campaign for Wisconsin Democracy gathers purchasing data from media outlets, and estimates about $8.5 million in issue ads have been bought during the recall.

The right-wing groups Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, known as “Wisconsin’s Business Voice,” and the anti-union Center for Union Facts have made roughly 75 percent of those purchases. Greater Wisconsin has spent about $2 million, according to McCabe.

This Alternet article also mentions the Campaign keeping track of Americans for Prosperity's "issue ads".  Some of their expenditure could have been this "bus tour" thing, though.  Hotline's analysis mentions Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, but not Americans for Prosperity or the Center for Union Facts.  The other television advertising analyses mention some of these other "alphabet soup" groups, but not Americans for Prosperity.  Of course, one group might be making the expenditure through another--who the hell knows?

So What?:

So far, despite the incomplete information, I think everything points to the total spending ratio being somewhere around 2 or 3.  Not 7, not 8, not 9, not 10.

Now, is it impossible to win when you're challenging an incumbent who (along with their party groups) is outspending you and your party groups by a 5:2 ratio or so?  Is that the kind of spending advantage that only Koch-backed Republicans can have?

Not at all! Let's look back at this roundup I did of 2010 House races using OpenSecrets.  Democratic incumbents Patrick Murphy, Alan Grayson, and Michael McMahon all lost with fairly similar spending ratios:

PA-08: Democratic incumbent Patrick Murphy lost by 8 points to Republican Mike Fitzpatrick, but he had a big spending advantage.  He spent $4,287,244 from his own campaign to Fitzpatrick's $2,062,733.  Democrats had a big edge in outside direct spending as well, with $472,146 on the Republican side to $2,692,489 on the Democratic side.  $354,963 of that was from the NRCC, meaning only 4.6% of Republican direct spending here came from outside sources.  The Chamber of Commerce had $170,000 in indirect expenditures here, and there was a bit from Americans for Prosperity.  

[...]

FL-08: Democratic incumbent Alan Grayson turned yet another spending advantage into yet another landslide defeat to Republican Daniel Webster.  Grayson spent a whopping  $5,459,812 from his own campaign to only $1,756,775 from Webster's.  There was $687,199 in outside direct spending on the Republican side and $247,455 on the Democratic side, but $593,230 of that was from the NRCC, meaning only 3.8% of Republican direct spending here came from outside sources.  There was also $250,000 in indirect expenditures here from the Chamber of Commerce, and some other minor indirect expenditures.

[...]

NY-13: Democrat Michael McMahon lost narrowly to Republican Mike Grimm, but McMahon spent $2,897,473 from his own campaign to only $1,249,139 from Grimm's.  Not much outside direct spending in this race, with $89,318 on the Republican side and $47,988 on the Democratic side--with $85,000 of that from the NRCC, that means that only 0.3% of Republican direct spending here came from outside of Grimm's campaign or the NRCC.  There were rather small indirect expenditures from Americans for Prosperity and the American Future Fund, with the latter spending $47,176.

Now, why is it particularly silly for people to simultaneously be decrying Walker's "seven-to-one spending advantage" while also blasting "Citizens United"?  Because "Citizens United", and the various rulings that followed, are all about outside spending and independent expenditures--donation limits to campaigns themselves, as far as I know, have been left untouched by all of that.

Full disclosure: These arguments aren't original to me.  In fact, lots of people are making them!  But, mostly, not DailyKos people.  I can't find a diary mentioning this stuff, although please let me know if there is one.

But: Here's a couple of conservative Atlantic comments that reminded me about this yesterday, one of which linked to this thing throwing together labor spending for different races, which I don't think is the right idea, and here's an, ugh, similar blog post on hotair.com, and a similar point on Outside the Beltway which was linked to by Andrew Sullivan, and which itself linked to this WaPo graphic, and here's a similar point about C.U. on American Thinker, and a similar point about C.U. on the Washington Examiner's blog, albeit one I think is a little incomplete.  And there was a similar argument about the spending ratio on Big Journalism, but I'll be damned if I link to them.

But you don't have to click those, if you don't want to!  You can read my diary instead, which I mostly wrote before reading most of those.  

And this ties back to my initial point:

No one's happier when Democrats throw around false or incomplete information than Republicans are.

If anyone has a link to a comprehensive and well-sourced Wisconsin spending analysis that contradicts the numbers above, or even one that verifies the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's numbers, then I'd be happy to correct or update this diary, of course.  I've spent a while looking, and I can't find any others.

(My emphases throughout.)

Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 11:49 AM PT: I should clarify one of the issues here, which is how to classify Wisconsin for Falk's spending.  Much of their advertising seemed to indeed include some anti-Walker messaging, but of course it was to promote Falk, not Barrett.  On the other hand, a lot of it probably aired fairly close to the general election, since the primary was only a month before.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ah, facts, don't you love them (0+ / 0-)

    The only pathway to truth.

    Stephen Crane

    THE WAYFARER,
    Perceiving the pathway to truth,   
    Was struck with astonishment.
    It was thickly grown with weeds.
    “Ha,” he said,
    “I see that none has passed here
    In a long time.”   
    Later he saw that each weed
    Was a singular knife.   
    “Well,” he mumbled at last,
    “Doubtless there are other roads.”

    War Is Kind and Other Lines (1899)

    Busting the Dog Whistle code.

    by Mokurai on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:00:17 PM PDT

    •  I hope these are the facts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      As I said, I'd really like to see lots of independent verification.  But I'm confident that looking at outside spending as well as campaign spending is at least farther along "the pathway to truth" in this case.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:07:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So this is wrong? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, MichaelNY
    While Barrett has received about 26 percent of his $4 million in campaign donations from outside the Badger State, Walker has drawn nearly two-thirds of his $30.5 million contributions from out of state, according to campaign filings released May 29. Walker has outraised Barrett 7 ½ to 1 since late 2011, though Barrett didn’t enter the race until late March.
    http://www.iwatchnews.org/...

    "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

    by Bush Bites on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:02:01 PM PDT

    •  Nope, that's correct. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, MichaelNY, exterris, dc1000

      Walker out-raised Barrett by a huge margin--but they weren't the only ones spending money in this election.  As I said above,

      The report that Lewis' diary linked to gave Walker's spending as $29 million and Barret's as about $2.9 million, so [assuming the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is right] that gives $47 million for Walker and the Republicans, and $18.4 million for Barrett and the Democrats.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:05:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wouldn't you have to get all the spending... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        ...in all the markets to be sure of what you're saying?

        "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

        by Bush Bites on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:19:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, which is hopefully what (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign did.

          As for the advertising reports--two of the ones I linked to apparently covered the whole state.  The other two only discussed  the Milwaukee and Madison markets, but the Milwaukee and Madison markets have over half the state's population between them, I think.  I'd love to see one for the Green Bay media market, but I couldn't find one.  Doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

          26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

          by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:22:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Seems like the Madison Group is conservative. (0+ / 0-)

            At least, Googling got me a few conservative Madison Groups -- I could be wrong.

            But, the article seemed to conflate the Madison Group's numbers with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign guy's quotes.

            "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

            by Bush Bites on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:37:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I hope you're right. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            exterris

            But I don't think we'll really know until the July reporting deadline at the earliest.

            Right now, it's just guesswork on both sides.

            "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

            by Bush Bites on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:46:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Also not sure about relying on the TV spending (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Xenocrypt

            Seems like the smaller markets would be more radio and newpaper and even direct mail ads.

            Don't mean to be a pain -- I'm just not sure who to believe on this.

            Hope you're right, though.

            "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

            by Bush Bites on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:02:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's possible (0+ / 0-)

              I just thought the TV spending was an interesting check, as I said.  It's certainly not all that campaign spending is, but I also doubt that the spending ratios with TV advertising are that wildly off the spending ratios of total spending.

              26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

              by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:06:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Look at it this way (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              exterris

              Why should the 7:1 ratio be true, if it comes from looking at only one part of the campaign spending?

              26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

              by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:09:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I see what you're saying. (0+ / 0-)

                But, probably the first money either side spends is on major market TV ads -- that's almost the point of entry for a statewide office -- so just going by that, they could look to be in the same spending ballpark.

                But, one or both sides would probably go beyond that to spend much deeper in other media buys.

                For instance, the Repubs have been masters at micro targeting via direct mail since the days of Viguarie and on through Rove, so it's hard to believe they still don't do some of that, which is relatively expensive.

                Then, you know, you have local radio shows and what-not.

                "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

                by Bush Bites on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 07:08:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  And just looking at this map. (0+ / 0-)

                http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/...

                You'd have to say that Walker probably spent a lot outside of the major markets.

                "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

                by Bush Bites on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 07:30:29 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Maybe he did, maybe he didn't... (0+ / 0-)

                  But he and the Republicans could have "spent a lot outside of the major markets" by spending about twice what Barrett and the Democrats were spending, rather than by spending about seven times what Barrett and the Democrats were spending.

                  26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

                  by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 07:41:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Great work. (8+ / 0-)

    A couple of other diarists tried to debunk the "7-1" myth, but their diaries scrolled off without notice. This is by far the most in-depth research, though, so I hope it's given the credit it deserves.

    Much latitude should be granted when the war cart gets ahead of the fact horse in the heat of battle (sorry for the tortured metaphor) -- 119% turnout in Madison being reported uncritically on the front page was a real whopper, for example; but in the end it's not really consequential (except for those of us who teach politics and cringe when concrete concepts like "turnout" are abused beyond recognition).

    On the other hand, for reasons you pointed out, it's very important not to exaggerate the expenditure differential between the WI candidates and their allies. Doing so led many commenters toward a fatalistic "there's no way we'll ever be able to compete again" tone. But, as you pointed out, we can still raise money competitively -- and even when we don't, we can still win when the wind is blowing in the right direction.

    You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

    by cardinal on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:08:29 PM PDT

    •  Thanks! (7+ / 0-)

      I admit that I didn't try to look through every single diary about Wisconsin in the past week or so.  But even in the debunkings I linked to here, I don't think any of them included the television advertising reports, which I think is a useful check, and which themselves apparently contradict the idea that Walker had the airwaves to himself.

      Now, I haven't spent nearly as much time reading about this election as many people on here have, so it's possible I'm making silly mistakes, but I at least thought bringing this information together would be a conversation-starter.  And the "fatalistic 'there's no way we'll ever be able to compete again' tone", as you put it, is something I'd very much like to try to combat.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:13:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The turnout-related diaries were pretty bad (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, MichaelNY, cardinal

      as in many cases turnout projections (65%) were reported instead of actual turnout (57%). In some Madison precincts, turnout was stated at over 100% due to people registering at the polls, but that certainly was not true for the entire City of Madison.

      Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, remorseless supporter of Walker's recall. Pocan for Congress and Baldwin for Senate!

      by fearlessfred14 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:11:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Xeno - thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zornorph, MichaelNY

    Tip and a REC. There was a diary last week that had a link to a Washington Post article that made a similar statement, although they had it down to 2:1. That diary rolled off the list without a peep.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:23:43 PM PDT

    •  I very much doubt that it was as low as... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zornorph, VClib, MichaelNY, exterris

      2:1, actually.  Ah, was it this diary?  It linked to the WaPo graphic I mention in my links-paragraph.  Seems to be the same information.  None of the comments seem to refute it, really, although there's a lot of skepticism.

      It is possible that the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has some kind of bias towards "pox on both your houses"--but it's not as if the apparent truth isn't dramatic enough.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:27:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Thanks for all the research.

  •  Thanks for the research (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, MichaelNY

    I guess this might be old-fashioned and wimpy of me, but I still value honesty in politics. Especially honesty that debunks the "Citizens United means we might as well not try" myth that is floating around here.

    Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, remorseless supporter of Walker's recall. Pocan for Congress and Baldwin for Senate!

    by fearlessfred14 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:08:27 PM PDT

    •  I hate that myth. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      "Die, zombie, die!"

      (I link to that for the quote, but I guess it's generally apt.)

      But the application of that myth here doesn't even make any sense, here, since the 7:1 ratio (or whatever it is) seems to have come from looking only at non-outside spending!

      I guess it's possible that, somehow, it'll still hold with outside spending accounted for, in some way that everyone's missed, but I think that's pretty unlikely.

      It's also worth pointing out that pretty much nobody says "the Democrats only spent $2.9 million in Wisconsin".

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:14:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That would be rather unlikely (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exterris

        as Walker was able to raise unlimited money for his campaign. He didn't need to bother with Super PACs like the GOP did last year, so he just ran the ads himself to keep the message straight.

        Male, 21, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02, remorseless supporter of Walker's recall. Pocan for Congress and Baldwin for Senate!

        by fearlessfred14 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:29:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Oh they 'ONLY' had a 3 to 1 advantage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre

    The post-Citizens United landscape is looking oh-so-rosy now.

    •  "Citizens United" is about outside spending (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      which, in this case, seems to have decreased, rather than increased, the Republican spending advantage.

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:36:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And by "Citizens United" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      I mean, as many do, both that decision and the ones that followed.  (This was part of what the Washington Examiner blog was talking about, although at this point I think it's a bit pedantic.)

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:37:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the coolheaded analysis as always (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, MichaelNY, dc1000

    I too agree with your "it's silly to blame Citizens United" argument, though I will say that I've always believed the outrage among non-political types (most people) about CU represents disgust with big spending in campaigns period.  Of course the media would never bring this up unless a Democratic businessman pulled a Meg Whitman, but it was always telling to me that pretty much everyone I've ever talked to who wasn't a college-Republican or "Libertarian"-type of conservative gets disgusted by money in politics.

    Democrats lost in Wisconsin, it seems, because people didn't think Walker deserved Recall rather than to be voted out.

    Personally, I think the nature of our electoral system and legislative institutions is much more important with regards to things such as gerrymandering packing liberals verses a proportional representation system, having efforts to dampen voter turnout and low-turnout elections (CA-31...), and the Senate over-representing rural states sort of thing.  Money certainly plays a role, but it's not there by itself.

    •  One thing I'd like to do (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, MichaelNY, sawolf, dc1000

      is to look at state-by-state campaign finance systems, and see if there's any relationship, at all, to policy outcomes.  The fact that Oregon apparently hasn't had spending limits of any kind for some time, while Arizona has what seems to be a pretty strong "clean elections" system, might caution people against simple "cause-and-effect" thinking on this issue.

      Also, I think even many serious observers of current politics might not understand that campaign finance doesn't seem to have been, in practice, regulated much at all until the 1970s.  And--maybe this is a little unfair--but it does amuse me when I think about how many people seem to simultaneously think that "money buys elections" and that American politics started going downhill in the 1970s, right around the time they established the FEC.

      As Bernstein put it:

      By the way, for liberals who support campaign finance, here's one for you. Compare how responsive to moneyed interests the following Democrats were: JFK/LBJ, elected with only private financing and no limits except ban on direct corporate donations and no disclosure; Jimmy Carter. full general election public financing  and partial nomination public funding with private donations limited and disclosed; Bill Clinton, with both nomination and general election partial public financing plus semi-limited and semi-disclosed private financing for both; and Barack Obama, back to full private financing, semi-limited and semi-disclosed. My sense is that you basically get no difference; others may disagree
      .

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 07:39:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How much... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xenocrypt, MichaelNY, IreGyre

    of the Dem spending was pre-primary spending? Walker at least did not have to fend off (R) competitors, while the Dems were fighting for the nomination up until the next-to-last month.

    •  That's an interesting question (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, bumiputera, eyesoars

      Honestly, I'm not sure how much it should matter.  I'm going back and forth.  It might depend on the content of the ads--if they were, say, "I'm Tom Barrett/Kathleen Falk, and I'm the right person to stop Scott Walker, who is terrible for the following reasons", then maybe that should still "count" as "Democratic spending".  If it was "Kathleen Falk was a lousy Dane County Executive", then it probably shouldn't.

      In some ways this goes back to my concern about "double-counting"--either the Falk campaign or the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign apparently thought that some expenditure of Falk's was both "pro-Falk" and "anti-Walker".  Should that "count" as Democratic advertising?  What about Barrett's ads, if they're aimed at the primary?  Is the most important spending directed at the specific opponent, or is it just important to have Democratic messages out there?  After all, some of the Republican outside spending seems to have avoided mentioning the election at all--those "issue ads".

      The Hotline media analysis is from "March 25-June 5", but it's only counting "Greater Wisconsin", which was apparently the DGA's arm, and "Barrett for Wisconsin":

      Barrett entered the race at the end of March, and his fundraising has been dwarfed by Walker, who had months to raise unlimited money due to a state campaign finance law regulating recall elections. But the Democrat doubled his total ad buy last week, going from about $340,000 to about $670,000. And while Republican outside groups made a big early mark, Democratic groups including Greater Wisconsin have also ramped up buys lately, dedicating over a million dollars to airtime in the week leading up to Memorial Day. While Republicans have spent significantly more overall, Democrats are trying to narrow the gap during the closing stage of the campaign.

      The Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association have each poured in millions, but the RGA's spending has roughly doubled that of its Democratic counterpart. Through Right Direction Wisconsin, the RGA has spent over $6 million on the race. The DGA has spent over $3 million via Greater Wisconsin, on TV and other outreach. The RGA has a lot more money to spend; it outraised the DGA more than 2-1 in 2011.

      Labor has been an active presence in the race, but not all of its money has been directly aimed at Walker. During the primary, public sector unions largely lined up behind the candidacy of Kathleen Falk, who lost to Barrett. A labor-heavy pro-Falk group spent over $4 million during the Democratic primary.

      That makes it seem like much of the money was post-primary.  But, again, I think it'd be interesting both to find out more about the details of the timing, and also to think about how much it should or shouldn't matter in terms of what "counts" as Democratic spending.  

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:46:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This "Wisconsin for Falk" ad (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY, eyesoars

        is very reasonable to construe as both "anti-Walker" and "pro-Falk":

        What do you think?  Should spending on ads like that count towards the main election total or not?  It's an important question, since if Wisconsin for Falk really did spend $4 million on her, as this article alleges, for example, then that more or less gets us up to the claimed $15 million total for Barrett and the Democrats' spending.  Of course, not all of their ads might have had such a prominent anti-Walker component (although, if they were smart, they all would have).

        26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

        by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 10:17:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Even the money for the Democratic primary (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, IreGyre, eyesoars

      is, I think, still worth knowing about and tallying--it's useful to know how much money was, in some sense, available to be spent, although it's possible the broader Democratic party could have coordinated it all more effectively.  

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:49:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Milwaukee media analysis (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY, eyesoars

      Seems to have been post-primary ("since early May").

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 09:55:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dems could have outspent Walker 10:1... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    ...and they would have lost, because their message was not well honed to the situation.  They treated it like a typical election, and they didn't heed the polling that showed the required swing voters saw it as a unique situation with a higher threshold.  Those voters weren't inclined to vote against Walker just because he wasn't their favorite guy--they saw recall as a unique punishment and Democrats didn't make the case that he should be uniquely punished.  

    Romney '12: Bully for America!

    by Rich in PA on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 05:03:33 AM PDT

  •  Remember the Double Standard: (0+ / 0-)

    Republican commentators and candidates may lie "as a horse shits ... without breaking stride" .  If caught, their base will only applaud their audacity and ingenuity.  Moreover, they (the Base) do not care one little bit what Democrats have to say about anything, "true" or not.

    But Democrat commentators and candidates must never misspeak, or even misjudge out loud, because THEIR base will wring hands, clutch pearls and rend them limb from metaphorical limb.  The Democratic Base cares very much what  Republicans say ... especially if there is some color of truth involved.

    •  Is this even a useful thing (0+ / 0-)

      for Democrats to believe?  The "7:1" ratio?  Is it good propaganda?

      26, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-14 (formerly PA-02/NY-12).

      by Xenocrypt on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:53:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For "low information Centrist swing voters" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        The Received Wisdom seems to be that these people

        1) will decide this election
        2) think with their emotions

        So ... yeah ... explaining away the defeat in Wisconsin with a simple, easy to grasp, (if not 100% statistically accurate and provable)  assertion -- probably IS "good propaganda".

        EXCEPT THAT:  Democrats "lose points" when they tell lies ... whereas Republicans do not.

        So ... it's probably not the most useful thing in the world (from the point of view of an Obama victory in in November) to give the Romney Camp an "even your own guys say so" public debunking to our own "imperfectly true" assertions.

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