It's taken most of the campaign season, but Mitt Romney now has the upper hand in spending over Obama.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had a financial advantage over President Barack Obama entering the final weeks of a campaign that polls of likely voters show as a dead heat.
The final campaign finance reports before the Nov. 6 election showed that Romney, the Republican National Committee and super-political action committees backing his candidacy raised just short of $1 billion through Oct. 17. That's about the same amount as Obama, the Democratic National Committee and his allied super-PAC combined.
Romney and his allies entered the last three weeks of the campaign with $151 million to spend -- $50 million per week -- while Obama and the Democrats had $114 million, according to reports filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission.
"Obama's campaign bet on their ability to define Romney during the summer season, and outspent him by a large margin early on," said Rogan Kersh, a campaign-finance specialist and provost at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. "Romney's team guessed that the final two weeks would decide the race, and saved funds accordingly. If the race stays close, Romney's financial advantage could be a decisive factor."
Obama's smear attempts during the summer backfired when the first debate revealed a Mitt Romney very different from the man portrayed by the Obama campaign. Meanwhile, Romney has husbanded his resources and is set to blanket 4 or 5 states with ads.
Will it be enough? Studies show that many voters tune out ads the last few weeks before the election, having been buried under an avalanche of pleas for support for the previous 3 months. But an effective ad can still be a difference maker so much will depend on how Romney's team chooses to present their candidate - and attack Obama.