By Toby Harnden
PUBLISHED: 19:27 EST, 23 July 2012 | UPDATED: 19:27 EST, 23 July 2012
Barack Obama spent more than three times what Romney did in June and raised less money than his Republican opponent but polls indicate his expensive attacks have had little or no effect.
It was the second consecutive month that Romney had outraised the president. The Republican’s cash money advantage has prompted Obama’s campaign advisers to warn supporters earlier this month that he could lose his re-election bid if the disparity continues.
The Romney campaign almost doubled its spending in June compared to May as the general election campaign heated up. But Obama spent $38.2 million on television advertising, compared to Romney’s $10.4 million, the bulk of it on negative ads attacking Romney’s Bain record.
Romney raised $106 million with Obama bringing in just $46 million in June. He now has $170 million in the bank compared to $147 million for Obama, who broke all records in 2008 and whose advisers once hoped would bring in $1 billion.
The former Massachusetts governor retains a huge overall advantage when super PACs working on his behalf are factored in. Groups like American Crossroads and Restore Our Future have already spent tens of millions of dollars on television ads to attack Obama or boost Romney.
Obama appears to have gambled that a negative blitz can effectively disqualify Romney in the minds of voters by cementing an image of him as an out-of-touch plutocrat who put profits above the welfare of American workers.
Under campaign laws, Romney cannot spend general elections funds for another month, leaving him at a considerable disadvantage in recent weeks.
But polls suggest that the Bain attacks have made little difference. A USA Today survey found that Romney maintains a significant advantage over Obama when it comes to managing the economy, reducing the federal budget deficit and creating jobs.
Some 63 per cent said that Romney’s background in business, including his time at the private equity firm Bain Capital, would cause him to make good rather than bad decisions in dealing with American economic problems over the next four years.
In the latest CBS/New York Times poll, Romney led Obama by one percentage point having been tied in May and two points down in April. In the RealClearPolitcs average of all national polls, Obama leads by just 1.1 per cent.
There are rumblings among some Democrats about the rate of Obama’s spending. Doug Schoen, a former pollster for President Bill Clinton, told the Wall Street Journal:
‘The burn rate—the investment in infrastructure and polling—is great if you’ve got the resources to follow through. It’s unclear to me whether the president has the resources.’
Obama had 778 paid campaign staffers on the payroll in June, accounting for $2.9 million in wages, compared to 272 employees for Romney costing $1.3 million.
To date, Obama has spent more than $25 million on payroll, including maintaining staff in states like South Carolina, which he has no hope of winning.