Is Donald Trump's Campaign on Vacation?

An Analysis of Trump Campaign and Pro-Trump PAC TV and Radio Ad Bookings Prompts the Question

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The Ad Age Presidential Campaign Ad Scorecard is sponsored by The Trade Desk

Editor's note: Here's the 26th installment of the 2016 Presidential Campaign Ad Scorecard. The chart below represents a collaboration between the Ad Age Datacenter -- specifically, Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Catherine Wolf -- and Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG). Some context from Simon Dumenco follows. --Ken Wheaton

So, uh, "Trump predicts winning the presidency will get him into heaven."

That's the headline of Politico's report on Donald Trump's appearance at a "Pastors in the Pews" meeting of evangelical leaders in Orlando this week. We shall not speculate on where Trump may believe he could end up if he doesn't win the presidency, but instead will merely direct your atttention to something else Mr. Trump told the religious leaders: "I'm having a tremendous problem in Utah. Utah is a different place. Is anybody here from Utah? I didn't think so. We're having a problem. I mean because, you know, it could cost us the Supreme Court."

The "problem" that Donald Trump is having in the "different place" of Utah is that the red state may actually be in play, given Mormon voters' apparently disdain for him.

How might a politician who's seeing a state potentially slip away from him react? Well, for one thing, he could bombard the state with carefully crafted commercials that allay voters' concerns (in the case of Utah's Mormon voters, those concerns include Mr. Trump's religious intolerance, given his anti-Muslim rhetoric). Which Donald Trump actually can afford to do, given his newly stocked war chest.

But no. The Trump campaign, as of this writing, has put no money toward TV or radio ad advertising in Utah, according to Ad Age's analysis of booked buys from Aug. 12 through Nov. 7. Nor have pro-Trump PACs.

Perhaps the Trump campaign is saving its firepower for more traditional swing states? Well, also no. Hover over the background color of the swing states in our chart below and you'll see advance booking dollar totals by candidate. If a state is blue, that means that only Hillary Clinton's campaign and/or pro-Clinton PACs have pre-booked TV or radio time.

Hover over purple states to see both Clinton and Trump tallies -- and then marvel at the gap between the candidates. In Ohio, for instance: $19,382,700 booked by Clinton and/or pro-Clinton PACs vs. $968,943 by Trump and/or pro-Trump PACs. In Florida: $23,578,929 booked by Clinton and/or pro-Clinton PACs vs. $355,427 booked by Trump and/or pro-Trump PACs. And so on.

On Thursday, on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Donald Trump said, "At the end it's either going to work or ... I'm going to have a very, very nice, long vacation."

But here's a question: Is Donald Trump's campaign already on vacation?

Booked Presidential Campaign Spending
on TV, cable and radio from Aug. 12 through Nov. 7
Total booked spending for Hillary Clinton*: $118,424,305
Total booked spending for Donald Trump*: $2,451,527
Total booked spending*: $121,299,270
Source: Ad Age analysis of data from Kantar Media's CMAG.
Booked ad buys (subject to change) for president campaigns from Aug. 12, 2016, through Nov. 7, 2016, as of Aug. 11, 2016.
Pay structures differ for candidates and PACs. Candidates pay the lowest unit rate. PACs pay whatever the market will bear.
*Data exclude booked spending on national cable, booked spending for Gary Johnson and other items not directly related to Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

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