(CNN) - A record four billion dollars will be spent on the midterm elections this year, according to an estimate by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non partisan watchdog group.
That new eye popping figure dwarfs the $2.85 billion spent in the last midterm election in 2006, and the $1.61 billion little more than a decade ago in 1998.
To put $4 billion in context: that's enough to send about 80,000 students to Princeton or Harvard Universities for a year. It could buy every person in America 3 Big Macs with fries at McDonalds.
"The stakes so high this cycle that it's not surprising that there's an intensity that was perhaps reduced or missing in last cycles," said Sheila Krumholz, Executive Director of The Center For Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign money on its website, OpenSecrets.org.
The candidates themselves spend much of the $4 billion, but a considerable amount of the money is coming from political parties and independent groups.
According to the report, outside spending will be $430 million for the 2010 election cycle. That is far more than the $31 million spent in 2002, less than a decade ago.
And despite Democrats complaints about being outspent, when it comes to political parties, Democrats are winning.
This year the Democratic Party has spent $782 million, and the Republican Party has spent $515 million.
Still, outside Republican groups have made up for the gap.
Democratic groups are catching up, but still, for every one dollar liberal organizations are spending on advertising and other communication, conservative organizations double that with two dollars spent.
And while the national Democratic Party committees enjoy a fund-raising advantage over their Republican counterparts, nationwide Republicans candidates are out raising Democrats $1.64 billion to $1.59 billion.
Another fascinating 2010 trend: key industries are moving campaign cash from Democrats, to Republicans.
Take the health care sector: When President Obama took office two thirds of its dollars were going to Democrats. After the Democrats' health care bill passed earlier this year, the industry is now giving 60% to Republicans.
The same goes for money from Wall Street and the energy sector. Just last year both gave mostly to Democrats. Now 67% of Wall Street money goes to Republicans and 74% of campaign cash from the energy sector is filling GOP campaign coffers.
"The Democrats are not favoring their bottom line," said Krumholz.
She also said it's a case of big business hedging its bets.
"I think they've got their finger in the air. I think they're looking at the changing poll numbers and seeing that the Republicans have a clear shot at taking the majority, particularly in the House."