Washington (CNN) - More money was spent and more commercials were run against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in this midterm election cycle than against any other congressional leader since Newt Gingrich.
More than $65 million was spent on 161,203 ads that targeted Pelosi from January 1 through last week's election, according to a new analysis of TV ads for CNN by Campaign Media Analysis Group.
"Not since 1996 and Newt Gingrich has a speaker been the target of so many elections ads, candidates, groups and party ads from the GOP put Pelosi front and center in the midterms" says Evan Tracey, CMAG's president and CNN's consultant on TV advertising.
The game plan by the GOP, individual campaigns, and independent groups that backed Republican candidates and causes, was simple: Tie as many Democratic incumbents and candidates to Pelosi, one of the most unpopular political figures in America right now. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll conducted the weekend before the midterms, only 26 percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of the House Speaker, with 53 percent saying they had an unfavorable view of Pelosi.
"In 1996, Gingrich was targeted in a similar fashion, but in the 1996 election spending represented about a third of what is spent now, so it's possible as a percentage the total spent against Gingrich would be similar to that spent against Pelosi, but her image was used in a negative way in a unprecedented scale," adds Tracey.
According to the CMAG analysis, individual campaigns accounted for nearly have of the $65 million, with independent groups that supported GOP candidates and issues spending more than $22 million and the Republican party chipping in more than $8 million.
The most ads (14,443) and the most money ($8.46 million) for ads targeting Pelosi were spent in Pennsylvania, where five House Democrats went down to defeat.
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