Final tally: Political TV spending hits $3.1B
December 3, 2012
With a huge amount of spending in October, as the gap between the two presidential candidates narrowed and the election neared, political advertising did indeed set a record this year.
Spot TV political advertising hit $2.9 billion, according to final numbers released this morning by Wells Fargo.
That was up 26.7 percent over the $2.29 billion spent in 2010, the previous record.
Spending grew 38 percent over the last presidential election in 2008 and was up an incredible 85.5 percent over the 2004 presidential election.
A large share of 2012’s record spending came in October, when candidates, their parties and special interest groups dropped a record $1.27 billion on spot television.
That meant nearly half of all local TV political spending, or 44 percent, came in a single month.
All political TV spending, including network and national spot, totaled $3.1 billion.
The huge numbers were not surprising.
Analysts had been predicting record-breaking spending since the 2010 election ended, and they anticipate that 2014 and 2016 will be record-breakers as well.
The reason is the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, which lifted a ban on political spending by corporations.
That meant companies, as well as wealthy individuals, could back whatever candidates they wanted in whatever races mattered to them, and it resulted in some exorbitant spending.
Super PACs backing the presidential candidates spent millions, but so too did smaller ones targeting congressional races.
The Hardworking Americans Committee, for example, spent more than $1 million in the final week of October advertising against Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat.
The Now or Never PAC, which advocates shrinking the size of the federal government, spent more than $5 million in a two-week period during October supporting five candidates for Senate and one for the House of Representatives.
Nearly 42 percent of local TV spending was on congressional races, while 31.2 percent went to the presidential race. Just under 22 percent went to ballot initiatives and the rest was for “other.”
Los Angeles, the country’s No. 2 TV market, had the largest amount of political spending, followed by Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Las Vegas and Denver.
The presidential candidates spent heavily in Ohio over the final weeks of the campaign, as it was a crucial battle state. President Barack Obama eventually won it.
Tags: ad spending, advertising, election, political, political ad spending, political ads, political spending, presidential candidates, spot, spot television, spot TV, spot tv ad spending, television, tv
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