Ad spend shows Democrats pinning hopes on midterm abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are pumping an unprecedented amount of money into advertising related to abortion rights, underscoring how central the message is to the party in the final weeks before November’s midterm elections. .

With the most intense campaign period just beginning, Democrats have already invested more than $124 million this year in TV ads referencing abortion. That’s more than twice as much money as Democrats’ next big issue this year, “character,” and nearly 20 times more than what Democrats have spent on midterm abortion-related ads. mandate in 2018.

Estimated spending figures, based on an Associated Press analysis of data provided by nonpartisan research firm AdImpact, reveal how far Democrats are betting their majorities in Congress and key governorates on an issue. It is even then that large majorities of Americans think the country is heading in the wrong direction and the economy is in bad shape.

The ad numbers also reveal how far Republicans avoided abortion in their paid advertising in the weeks following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, a GOP target for decades. (AdImpact data captures each time a campaign ad airs on TV and estimates a cost associated with those airings.)

Since the High Court’s decision in June to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion, roughly one in three dollars of television advertising spent by Democrats and their allies has focused on abortion. Much of the spending is aimed at attacking Republicans on the ballot this fall who have long opposed abortion rights and are currently engaged in a state-by-state campaign to restrict abortion rights or ban the practice altogether. .

Democrats’ unprecedented investment in abortion messaging on TV this year through Sept. 18 is greater than the Republican Party’s combined national investment in ads related to the economy, crime and the economy. ‘immigration.

“With less than 60 days to go until the election, we refuse to sit idly by while anti-choice Republicans try to control our bodies and our futures and simultaneously lie to voters about it,” said Melissa Williams, executive director of Women Vote!, an outside group that has invested more than $4 million in abortion-related ads this year. “We make sure every voter knows the candidates who stand with them and against them to protect that right.”

Democrats’ overwhelming focus on abortion is perhaps unsurprising given the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the wave of Republican-backed abortion bans in more than a dozen states that followed. But the strategy still marks a clear departure from the party’s focus in recent years on former President Donald Trump and other issues such as the economy, education and health care.

In the 2018 midterm elections, for example, Democrats spent less than $6 million on abortion-related television advertising. That’s compared to the $51 million Democrats have invested in Trump-related ads, $49 million in health care and $46 million in education, according to AdImpact.

Jessica Floyd, president of American Bridge, a Democrat-allied super PAC that runs abortion-related ads in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania, described abortion as “the ultimate health issue” for women and families. The Supreme Court’s decision and subsequent Republican push to ban abortion in some states, she said, represents “a real rollback of rights, which is unprecedented.”

“It’s a very powerful motivator,” Floyd said. “It goes against everything we know voters care about – especially the voters who will decide this election.”

TV ad data reveals that Republicans have also invested millions of dollars in abortion messaging. But most of those ads ran during the primary phase of the campaign this spring and summer as Republican candidates touted their anti-abortion credentials. The number of Republican ads referring to abortion has declined each month since May.

As the calendar shifted to the fall general election, the divide between Democratic and Republican spending on abortion has widened further. So far this month, for example, Democrats and their allies have aired more than 68,000 TV ads referencing abortion, more than 15 times more than their Republican counterparts. They spent about $31 million on such ads compared to GOP spending of just $2.8 million. That’s even when Republican leaders such as GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel acknowledged in a recent interview that her party cannot allow Democrats to control the abortion narrative.

“It’s very clear that this is the only thing Democrats need to stand on, isn’t it? They don’t run on a good economy. They can’t run over the community being safer. They can’t run on education,” McDaniel said. “So what are they going to do?” They’re going to do everything on abortion, which means we’re going to have to talk about it like the Republicans do.

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People reported from New York.

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