An analysis put together by the organization, which was first shared with POLITICO, looked at advertising in the 2022 midterms. It found that Republicans spent $135 million on broadcast ads in House and Senate races — nearly one-third of their total costs on commercials — attacking Biden.
At the same time, few Democrats aired ads promoting Biden’s legislative accomplishments, according to the Way to Win report. Democrats also only forked over about $20 million for ads that mentioned former President Donald Trump, less than 4 percent of their total spending on spots. And some of those commercials actually talked about Trump in a positive or neutral light.
“I don’t think people really know how much Biden was just personally pummeled throughout the entire midterms to a bunch of voters in key states and congressional districts,” said Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, co-founder of Way to Win and a previous consultant for the donor club Democracy Alliance. “It’s just completely asymmetric in terms of how Biden is attacked and how there isn’t much on the other side to counter it.”
It’s not unusual for candidates in battleground states to appeal to moderate voters by distancing themselves from their national leaders or even highlighting their agreements with the opposite party. Democrats also argue that what they did in 2022 clearly worked, given that they exceeded expectations by maintaining control of the Senate and limiting losses in the House. Biden led Democrats to the most successful midterms for a new Democratic president in 60 years, said a Biden adviser who was asked to respond to a summary of the memo.
But Way to Win’s analysis is likely to rekindle internal debates over the need for Democrats to more fully advertise their accomplishments, something Biden world pledged to do early in the president’s first term. The report has been shared with the White House and other top party officials, according to a Democratic strategist familiar with its circulation. Fernandez Ancona said people close to the White House “tell me it was helpful.”
Way to Win itself appears eager to help fill the void. Earlier this month, its political arm and two other liberal groups announced that they were pouring $20 million into a national ad campaign to champion Biden’s record.
The group’s analysis included some other noteworthy discoveries. It found that Democrats spent much more than Republicans on ads mentioning bipartisanship as well as terms like “extreme,” “extremism” or “radical,” a reflection of the party’s strategy to paint the GOP as far-right. In 2020, Republicans were much more likely to portray Democrats as extreme, according to Way to Win.
Looking at abortion, which helped Democrats defy historical trends in the midterms, the report found the party’s advertising on the issue “overwhelmingly” zeroed in on the debate over exceptions for rape and incest.
When it comes to attacks against the president, Fernandez Ancona said the group found that those spots tended to resonate with voters.
“Even Latino voters and other kinds of voters who are part of our base, we hear them parroting some of these talking points that the Republicans have been running in their ads,” she said.
Read the full article here