Joe Biden’s US presidential campaign has set out plans to spend $280m on television and digital advertisements between now and election day, in a major investment targeting voters in more than a dozen key swing states.
With less than three months to go until the November 3 election, the presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign said on Wednesday that it would spend $220m on TV advertising and $60m on a digital ad campaign in 17 battleground states. The Trump campaign has reportedly reserved $145m in TV ads between now and November.
The Biden targets include Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — Midwestern states that were crucial to Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 — as well as Texas, Arizona and Georgia, which have historically backed Republican candidates but are increasingly seen as potential wins for Mr Biden in November.
The Biden campaign said its online ad campaign was part of a “nine-figure investment in digital” to reach a range of voters. The campaign said it had booked advertising slots on video streaming services such as Hulu and ESPN, as well as podcasting platforms, online and mobile gaming sites and highly-visible website banner advertising slots, such as the YouTube masthead, which sits on the site’s homepage.
Mr Biden, the former US vice-president, leads Mr Trump nationally by a more than seven-point margin, according to the latest Real Clear Politics polling average. He has a significant polling advantage over the incumbent in several states that are crucial to winning the White House, as an increasing number of voters sour on the president’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
“With less than 100 days to go until the election, our campaign is continuing to communicate directly with voters, showing real leadership in these times of crisis, and offering a clear contrast with President Trump,” said Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mr Biden’s campaign manager, in a memo. “This election is a referendum on a president who has proven incapable of leading effectively in times of peril and struggle.”
The Biden campaign has until now only run a small number of TV campaign ads in a handful of states, with its overall advertising spending trailing behind that of the Trump team.
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An FT analysis published last month found that the Trump campaign had spent $80m on advertising in the first six months of 2020, far more than it had over the same period four years ago. The same analysis showed the Biden team had spent $65m on ads in the first half of the year.
Mr Trump abruptly sacked his campaign manager Brad Parscale last month, after a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, intended to jump-start his bid turned into an embarrassment, with far fewer attendees than expected. The president replaced Mr Parscale with Bill Stepien, a Republican operative who previously worked for former New Jersey governor Chris Christie.
The Trump campaign briefly paused TV advertising last week as part of a strategy review led by Mr Stepien. But Trump ads were back on air on Monday, with two new spots attacking Mr Biden with claims that the former vice-president, who has campaigned as a centrist, was beholden to the “radical left”.