'It's frustrating': Trump advertising blast has limits

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's campaign manager warned in late spring that his political operation as a juggernaut - the "Death Star", as he called it - would "press FIRE" for the first time.
What followed was a massive investment in television and online advertising to demonstrate the real power of Trump's reelection team. The Republican campaign brought nearly $ 24 million in paid advertising, focusing primarily on six battlefield countries in the seven weeks from the last week of April to the first week of June. This is evident from the expense data received from The Associated Press.
The Death Star attack did not have the intended effect.
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Some recent surveys indicate a decline in Trump's reputation, and a majority of Americans believe the country is going in the wrong direction. And almost two months after Trump triggered his advertising tsunami for the first time, there are signs that his inability to demonstrate consistent leadership through several national crises has neutralized one of the best advertising campaigns that can be bought for money.
"It's frustrating," Republican Scott Walker, former governor of Wisconsin, said of the President's inconsistent message while praising the Trump administration's policies before the pandemic brought the economy to a standstill.
"That's the part that's frustrating. It's going back in the right direction, but every now and then the news of the good things he and his team do is getting off track," Walker continued in an interview.
Advertising alone will not determine Trump's re-election, especially given that Trump and Biden are extremely well known and therefore less prone to traditional persuasion campaigns. Even so, paid advertising remains one of the most powerful tools for political campaigns. And the investment this spring is just a taste of the next 20 weeks.
Trump has almost unlimited resources to reach convincing voters through televisions, phones, and computers. In late April, he reported more than $ 250 million to the bank, along with the Republican National Committee and joint entities.
Last week, he launched another $ 10 million advertising flash to highlight recent job numbers better than expected.
Trump campaign officials say it is a mistake to view the performance of campaign ads bought last month as a forecast for the future. The campaign, they said, was just beginning to emerge from a corona virus freeze that dominated public awareness, and they had spent a fraction of their record-breaking war chest. They said they are seeing more public reaction to their anti-Biden message every day as more voters prepare for the general election matchup.
"Many Americans know Joe Biden, but not many know Joe Biden," said Tim Murtaugh, Trump Campaign Communication Director. “At the moment, he is essentially the generic democrat in most voters' minds. We will change that.
It remains to be seen how effective the Trump campaign's sophisticated advertising operation can be in the face of its own turbulent government style and constant stream of eye-catching social media posts. The president continues to fight to lead the nation through the pandemic, its economic consequences, and widespread unrest.
National Democratic Committee chairman Tom Perez shot his own shot at Trump's "Death Star".
"Trump's campaign is on a death spiral," Perez told The Associated Press. "He is on a death spiral because he made the wrong decisions at every turn. He divides America and does not unite America."
Democrats acknowledge that Trump has a well-funded political operation that shouldn't be taken lightly, but they are generally happy with the state of the race.
In any case, Biden has an early advantage, although he has not yet spent a dollar on television advertising for the general election. However, the former vice president has started to expand his online advertising. Biden's campaign spent nearly $ 5 million on online advertising in the first week of June alone, though much of it was aimed at winning donations rather than convincing voters to support him.
It seems to work.
Biden announced Monday that it had raised $ 80.8 million in collaboration with the Democratic National Committee last month alone. In addition to focusing on online donations, his campaign benefited from the large number of donations to progressive groups in the recent unrest.
Ad spend data shows that Trump has focused most of his payment media campaign over six states in the past seven weeks: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Trump's team has periodically raised the possibility of winning democratic states like Minnesota, New Mexico, and even Oregon, but the advertising numbers tell the story of a campaign that is decidedly on the defensive.
At least so far, Trump's campaign is only spending money in states that he won four years ago.
Florida is at the top of the list. The President spent nearly $ 5.6 million on television and online advertising in Florida between April 26 and June 6. This emerges from data that have been communicated to the AP. During the same period, he gave $ 3.7 million in Wisconsin, $ 3.1 million in Pennsylvania, $ 2.3 million in North Carolina, $ 1.7 million in Michigan, and 1.1 million US dollars in Arizona. The campaign spent an additional $ 6.3 million on national cable advertising.
While advertising matters, Walker suggested that Trump's fate is more directly related to the nation's health.
"If you achieve stability in both business and overall stability, you will find that the president's numbers are approaching the level a few months ago, which was still very tight," said Walker. I don't think anything will become a slam dunk. "
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People reported from Montclair, New Jersey. Miller reported from Washington.

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