Undecided Democrats Caught in Crossfire of Health Reform Ads

BY Quinn Bowman  March 17, 2010 at 5:36 PM EST

As Democratic lawmakers work to push health care legislation over the finish line, millions of dollars are being spent on television ads in the districts of Democratic members who could cast the deciding vote.

Evan Tracey, president of Campaign Media Analysis Group, a company that tracks political advertising, said that groups opposing health care reform are spending approximately $750,000 a day on advertising and proponents are spending just a few thousand dollars.

He expects that to change as a group associated with PhMRA, Americans for Stable Quality Care, rolls out new ads, in addition to spots from liberal group MoveOn.org.

Watch the new ad, “Finish,” from Americans for Stable Quality Care:

Health Care for America Now, a group sponsored by several labor unions, announced Tuesday it was launching a $1.4 million ad campaign in 17 districts with Democratic members who are still undecided.

“If you go back and look at the past three months, spending is about equal from both sides – $13.5 million in favor and $13 million against,” Tracey said. He said in the past 30 days, opposing groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have spent approximately $5.3 million while pro reformers have spent about $200,000.

“My guess is (reform supporters) will try to get close to a parity level” in the coming days, he said.

Watch an example of anti-reform advertising from Employers for a Healthy Economy, a coalition of businesses, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This ad is called “Afford”:

Blair Latoff, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the group spent $4 million to $10 million on this latest campaign — a 10 day purchase that is running in 14 states and on national cable. She said the group has spent “tens of millions” on health care reform advertising in the past year.

Tracey added that the majority of health care reform advertising spending has narrowed from 14 states to about two dozen House districts with undecided Democratic Representatives.

“This is a foreshadowing of things to come in the mid-term elections,” Tracey said.