Professor Pundits: What Do You Get for $400 Million?

In their latest video commentary, Middlebury political science professors Matt Dickinson and Bert Johnson look at the Obama campaign’s early massive spending spree — $400 million to date — mostly in battleground states. But despite the big spending, polls show a statistical dead heat between the two candidates. The pundits discuss this and more in their newest chat. And, as always, if you have a question about this presidential campaign for Bert Johnson or Matt Dickinson, please leave a comment below or email:

Previous Professor Pundits commentaries.

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  1. I really enjoy these conversations — thanks, Bert and Matt. I like the fact that you keep bringing it back to studies — rather than what often seems like a mixture of conventional wisdom and guesswork in the popular press.

  2. Thanks Peter. That’s in part the purpose of these videos – to use our research to clarify and sometimes correct what the popular press is saying about the election.

  3. As much as I enjoy these discussions–far more insightful than the usual political commentary–the issue of campaign spending is increasingly depressing. Together, the campaigns will spend several billion dollars on business as usual: pretending constant “economic growth” can be achieved on a finite, stressed planet. No matter who wins, nothing will be done on climate change, despite the undeniable scientific and experiential evidence that we’re in worse shape than predicted even a few years ago. Obama’s now spending money on Ohio ads touting the fantasy of “clean coal.” Romney wants to gut environmental regulations for “jobs” (despite objective findings that the nontraditional fossil fuel sources expected to provide some of those jobs are way overestimated and secured at the peril

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    of entire ecosystems).

    Meanwhile, a small fraction of those campaign costs could buy clean-burning cookstoves to reduce the climate-changing soot and improve health in developing countries. A few billion could help renovate American passenger rail or insulate homes. Instead we get expensive, empty rhetoric. At what point is this spending called for the Roman fiddling it is?

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  4. I enjoyed the conversation. My question is does it really matter whether Romney has more money than Obama when Obama’s sitting on a $700 million war chest? Most people watch television during certain prime-time slots so how much money does one really need to saturate those time slots? I feel the fact that Obama has less money than Romney (not to bring the Cold War into this) is the equivalent of the Soviets having the capability to blow up the world three times over and America 12 times over. You only need the capability to do it once. Anything leftover is useless braggadocious statistics.

  5. So far, Team Obama has got a dead heat. Worth $400 Million? I don’t think so, but what would it be without the expenditure? They are still burning money at an unsustainable rate.

    Watch the money Matt. Romney raised @$4 Million in the few hours after he announced Paul Ryan. Romney-Ryan drew huge crowds (35,000) and (15,000) while an Obama fundraiser in Chicago for $51.00 a seat went half empty.

    Numbers don’t lie. Look for som radical desperate moves from Obama team.

  6. Thanks so much for putting these video commentaries together. It’s very refreshing to hear your insights & reminds me why I loved your class so much (Professor Dickinson). Looking forward to the rest!

  7. Please reread the wisdom of Frederick Sanford in Comment Number 4. My sentiments exactly, but I hadn’t taken time to express them to anyone. I have just quit Facebook and am delighted to find this outlet.

  8. I probably misunderstood Prof Dickinson at a recent ESL session to the effect that all the money spent on TV etc was not going to effect election results because 85% (?) of voters have already made the decision. But won’t all the $’s spent on advertising effect the undecided?

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