Prop Zero
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Are All the Ads and Money Too Much, Too Late?



    Getty Images
    FRESNO, CA - OCTOBER 2: California Republican gubernatorial candidate and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (L) addresses an issue while her opponent California attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown awaits his turn during the second of three scheduled televised debates at Fresno State October 2, 2010 in Fresno, California. With just a few weeks before the election, California gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman, Republican, and Jerry Brown, Democrat, faced off in their second debate as polls show the two candidates are nearly tied. Some of the debate focused on Whitman's former housekeeper's claims that Whitman employed her while knowing about her illegal immigration status. (Photo by Eric Paul Zamora-Pool/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jerry Brown;Meg Whitman

    Jerry Brown boasted this week that he's got $12 million for a flurry of ads in the final days before election day. Meg Whitman is debuting a new ad depicting Brown as a union puppet (below). Carly Fiorina's campaign is talking up their own pile of cash for last-minute ads.


    Here's the problem: all this spending and all these new ads in the days before the Nov. 2 election day come awfully late. Perhaps too late.

    Late how, you ask? It's not merely that most voters long ago made up their minds. The problem for these campaigns is that the election in California has been underway for more than two weeks. In an era when roughly half of Californians vote by mail, Election Day is really Election Month.

    And that month is already more halfway over. And with each day a campaign waits to spend money and put ads on the air, the electorate shrinks. In this era, a campaign that holds on money unti the end will be getting much less for its month than it might have a month earlier. So some free advice for Jerry, Carly and Meg: spend all that money you have as fast as you can. Heck, spend it yesterday.