A brand new analysis of spending by outside groups in the 2012 election cycle would be hilarious if it weren’t so…actually, it IS hilarious! Below is a ranking, from most to least effective (the percentage is the amount of money spent that actually led to the desired result), of major groups’ “return on investment” – ROI – for their spending during this campaign season).
As you skim through this and look at the color scheme, I think you’ll quickly notice a pattern: the pro-Republican outside groups had a generally abysmal ROI, including just 1.29% for supposed “genius”/”Bush’s brain” Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group, and an even worse 0.81% ROI for the NRA Political Victory Fund. In stark contrast, progressive, pro-Democratic, pro-women, and pro-environment groups generally had excellent ROIs, including around 98% for Planned Parenthood, 78% for the LCV, 74%/84% for SEIU, etc. On the “flip,” I’ll throw out a few ideas why this disparity might be the case, but first here are the raw numbers.
Planned Parenthood Votes: 98.58%
Planned Parenthood Action Fund: 97.82%
Majority PAC (goal: “Protect the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate”): 87.86%
SEIU Committee on Political Education: 73.99%
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC): 79.73%
League of Conservation Voters (LCV): 78.17%
Worker’s Voice: 76.14%
Women Vote!: 73.16%
Congressional Leadership Fund (Pro-Republican, run in part by Bob McDonnell’s buddy Fred “Nixon’s corrupt Jew counter” Malek): 60.64%
American Action Network (goal: “create, encourage and promote center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national security.”): 60.33%
Americans for Tax Reform (Grover Norquist’s group; pro-Republican): 57.35%
Independence USA PAC (Michael Bloomberg’s group, supports candidates of both parties): 45.74%
House Majority PAC (goal: “hold Republicans accountable and help win back the House Majority for Democrats”): 46.46%
Patriot Majority USA (liberal): 42.52%
Club for Growth Action (right wing): 41.37%
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) 39.17%
National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC): 31.63%
Freedomworks for America (pro-Republican): 24.51%
National Republican Senatorial Committee: 24.05%
Ending Spending Action Fund (anti-Democratic/pro-Republican): 15.34%
Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Karl Rove; pro-Republican): 14.40%
Now or Never PAC (pro-Republican): 14.30%
NRA Institute for Legislative Action: 10.25%
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (basically an arm of the Republican Party): 6.90%
American Future Fund (Koch brothers; pro-Republican): 5.57%
Americans for Responsible Leadership (shadowy right-wing group): 1.96%
American Crossroads (Karl Rove; pro-Republican): 1.29%
NRA Political Victory Fund: 0.81%
So, what’s going on here? I chatted with two super-savvy Democratic political strategists this morning, and they made a few points worth repeating.
*First of all, this is a huge embarrassment/meltdown for the right-wing groups, an almost total waste of their money and a repudiation of their entire strategy. Gotta love it.
*Part of the problem is that these groups’ messages were not in alignment with the Romney campaign’s, also without the organizing technology and techniques Democrats figured out after 2004.
*The Republicans completely failed to message effectively to minority groups. To the extent they DID message, it was hostile, such as “self deportation,” “takers vs. makers,” the whole “welfare” nonsense, the “47 percent,” etc. The point is, Republicans communicate, just not in a way that’s going to win them any supporters. #FAIL
*Bottom line: the right-wing groups were extremely ineffective, for a variety of reasons, and basically wasted hundreds of millions of dollars of the Koch brothers’, Sheldon Adelson’s, the fossil fuel industry’s, and others’ unholy money. What a shame, huh?