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Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President Trump is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Facebook ads on the Supreme Court and conservative judges in the final stretch of his campaign, while Joe Biden is spending over a million on voter mobilization, according to an analysis by Axios using data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

The big picture: Trump's Facebook ad messaging has fluctuated dramatically in conjunction with the news cycle throughout his campaign, while Biden's messaging has been much more consistent, focusing primarily on health care and the economy.

Why it matters: The Trump campaign's revolving door of targeted messaging shows the evolving dynamics of the race, and the campaign’s failure to hone in on one clear message.

  • Instead, it's trying to juice turnout before Nov. 3 by throwing money at a series of issues that might rally Trump's base.
  • The strategy is echoed in state-level spending. Several campaign officials have told Axios they don't have a clear sense of what strategy will secure 270 electoral votes.
  • Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien has been dabbling in spending in Rust Belt battleground states in an effort to preserve multiple paths.

State of play: Last fall and winter, the majority of the Trump campaign's ads targeted the impeachment process and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Biden's side has invested heavily in the past few months on voter mobilization and best voting practices during the pandemic.

Be smart: Facebook ads offer campaigns the unique ability to target potential voters narrowly and in real time. In total, the Trump campaign has spent over $142 million on Facebook ads this year, while the Biden campaign has spent over $89 million.

Flashback: Republicans struggled to deliver a clear, consistent message to voters during the midterm elections, leading to a blue wave in the House and Democratic gains in the Senate.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Big Tech bolts politics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big Tech fed politics. Then it bled politics. Now it wants to be dead to politics. 

Why it matters: The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools. 

8 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

8 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."