The Ending Spending Action Fund, a conservative super PAC bankrolled by billionaire Joe Ricketts, was on pace to send out nearly 2 million mail pieces in the month before the election, mostly in the presidential race. The group is focused on Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. In one mailing, Obama is slammed for rising debt, nagging unemployment and higher dependency on food stamps. "Obama made things worse," it says.
Brian Baker, the group's president, said the mailers are a key part of a "surround sound campaign" to also drive the same message over the airwaves, on doorsteps and through email.
On the political left, People for the American Way is directing its mail efforts at pushing up the Latino vote, a crucial bloc for Obama. The group's mailers are printed in English and Spanish, and they portray Romney as an elitist whose policies would squeeze funding for Head Start, special education and college Pell Grants. "No dejes que te enganen — Don't be fooled — Mitt Romney is not for us," one ad concludes.
There are drawbacks to the mail pitches. Mail takes more time to develop and distribute, so pieces prepared for the stretch run won't pivot off late-breaking moments in the same way radio and television spots can. And there's no denying that even mail can reach a saturation point.
Outside Cleveland, Jean Gianfagna has days when six or seven political mailings come in — occasionally four versions of the same one for herself, her husband and her college-age son and daughter. The Ohio marketing consultant knows the power of mail persuasion, but even she questions whether the investment is worth it at this stage.
"At some point you reach burnout and everyone I know is completely burned out in this election. We see hundreds and hundreds of ads," said Gianfagna, who is backing Obama but getting mail from both sides. "At some point you just tune it all out."
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