GOP outspends Dems to run ads in Wisconsin recall
May 28th, 2012
10:52 AM ET
2 years ago

GOP outspends Dems to run ads in Wisconsin recall

(CNN) - If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wins next week's recall election, the big bucks the Republican governor and his allies have spent to run TV commercials will be a contributing factor.

And the ad wars over the recall contest may give Wisconsin a dubious honor this election year.

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Walker, Republican Party committees, independent tea party groups and other grassroots fiscal conservative organizations have spent around $8.65 million to run ads in the recall campaign, from November through last week, according to data from Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group, a company that tracks and estimates the costs of campaign ads running on the air.

That's a considerable amount more than the $5.10 million that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker's Democratic challenger, Democratic Party committees and independent progressive groups have spent to run commercials.

In the two week period from May 10 through May 23, Walker and his supporters shelled out around $2.5 million to run ads, including nearly $1.1 million from the governor's campaign, while Barrett's campaign has spent just under $650,000, with the total pro-Barrett spending at around $1.1 million.

"There is intense amount of advertising in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race that is chasing a minute amount of undecided voters. Attitudes are polarized and hardened in the Badger State, but with the contest so close, candidates and their allies have no choice but to go 'all in'. That said, there probably are not a lot of moveable voters at this point," Kenneth Goldstein, CNN's consultant on TV advertising and Kantar Media/CMAG president, said.

Wisconsin voters will cast ballots on June 5th to decide whether to remove Walker from office following last year's bitter battle over his push to limit the collective bargaining rights of state public employee unions.

Walker holds a single digit advantage over Barrett in the two most recent independent polls. According to a St. Norbert College/Wisconsin Public Radio survey released Thursday, 50% of people likely to vote in the June 5th recall election said they supported Walker, the first-term governor, with 45% backing Barrett, who won his party's primary earlier this month, setting up a rematch with Walker from the 2010 election that the Republican won by five points.

A Reason-Rupe poll, also released Thursday, indicated that Walker had a 50% to 42% advantage over Barrett, with 6% unsure.

While the millions spent on ad buys in the recall effort is a lot of money, it's just part of a larger pile of cash being spent to run political ads in Wisconsin this year.

"This advertising campaign in the governor recall contest is actually just a small fraction of what Wisconsin residents have seen and will see this year," said Goldstein, who's also a longtime professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Advertising in the GOP primary for president, recall election primary, and this already – and then Republican Senate primary and competitive races for U.S. Senate and president in the fall. Wisconsin is on track to have the largest number of political ads ever aired in a state."

Also see:

Gingrich's presidential advice: Raise money

Wisconsin recall's a 'test run,' DNC chair says

Giuliani gets over ego and praises Romney


Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Scott Walker • Tom Barrett • Wisconsin
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. wisconsinvoter

    What is all of this BS from pepole who do not live in Wisconsin. Anyone can believe what they want
    the fact is Tom Barret wants to spend 100 million on a two mile loop of a trolly, all of this while his city police department reclassified major crime like assualt and battery down to simple assualt or even disordly conduct
    Tom Barett has nothing to offer nothing and most of the voter are fine with what Walker did some may not agree with what he however i wake up every day and the sky is still their over Wisconsin.

    May 28, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "With the ultra-radical left in WI, I can see why a governor would need a legal defense fund."

    Ummm. that "defense fund" is because Walker has apparently been palin' around with GOBP thugs and criminals. How is that the fault of the "ultra-radical left in WI"?

    May 28, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    this election has been sealed and bought by the Koch Brothers so grassroots efforts are now a thing of the past.

    May 28, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. wade

    If Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wins next week's recall election? Are you joking. Listen I know that CNN is a DIE HARD Liberal station but seriously. Walker is so far ahead int he polls there is no IF. Nice try on blaming money remember Obama raises more and receives more than anyone and it is not going to help him either.

    May 28, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. DVA

    I believe that the vets that were polled are the WWII vets and more of the older ones who still love the battle cry of war. Outside of the bombing of Pearl Harbor (with hopefully all the facts on board) this country has been involved in wars that have proven nothing but death to our young men and women, along with wounded and damaged families. Iraq was a complete disaster following a terrible lie by Bush and his administration, same for Vietnam. What reason would a vet have to poll favorably with Romney? He has yet to prove anything, other than a failed governorship and business deals that only helped himself and the rich. One argues neither Romney or Obama have had military experience, true, howver at least Obama has proven himself with getting out of Iraq, killing Bin Laden and Gadhafi and now pushing policy to get our soldiers out of Afghanistan. One last tidbit, Romney sees no problem in demolishing one multi-$$$$ home in order to build himself a larger multi-$$$$$$ mansion. Please people don't settle for this last pick of the litter candidate to run this country. We deserve better than someone who does not think before he speaks and even if the did think, it wouldn't be worth much as he is just so far out of touch with the majority of people in this country.

    May 28, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Iamnotfooled

    Go Barrettt--Go Wisconsin--Don't believe in Polls!

    May 28, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Richard T.

    Teabagger like Walker and friends will always suck.

    May 28, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Edward

    Wisconsin is proof that cutting taxes and union busting does not create jobs.

    May 28, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. The Film Professor

    Sometimes I think of Wisconsin as an enlightened state - and then I remember that this was the state that elected Joseph McCarthy, who I'm guessing is a relative of Scott Walker?

    May 28, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Tony

    Anyone can cut spending when you tell the people on whom you are cutting spending that they have no rights or can't keep their rights. Imagine if the GOP tells seniors that the government can't afford to pay them Social Security benefits anymore, and they must accept a higher retirement age and lower benefits. This was essentially what happened in Wisconsin. The governor and the GOP-controlled legislature took away the collective bargaining rights of unions, then told the unions that they can't keep their benefits. The governor needed to do this so that he could cut taxes without busting the budget. The governor claims that he is standing up to union bosses. It is like Nazis claiming that they need to defend themselves against the Jews by exterminating them. These union bosses are so powerful that they lost their collective bargaining rights without putting up a fight.

    May 28, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Rightster

    Romney is surrounding himself with warmonger advises like Bonkers Bomber Bolton. As a result, if the military like more deployments for occupations and wars for Israel, they'll love Romney.

    May 28, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Richard T.

    It is not just a recall of Walker. There are also recalls of GOP State Senators. The dems only need to win one of the three Senate seats to end the radical right-wing Senate. Lets hear more about the senate races.

    If the Waukesha County Clerk has a 3rd run at her on-going election rigging she needs to be jailed! Third time may finally be the charm. The WI GOP remains thugs and criminal with the likes of her.

    May 28, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. tony

    Big Oil Party vs. The People. This country gets more like Tsarist Russia every day.

    May 28, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Alex

    I really dont buy these polls... let me guess...each one conducted about 1,000 interviews...correct? There are ALOT of liberals in Wisconsin that voted for Walker the first time around that wont this time. I really do think Walker is going down...by a very small margin. It really kind if p**sses me off that Obama hasn't helped rally the troops in Wisconsin, he could have made a big difference. Regardless of who wins, Romney is NOT winning Wisconsin. If Bush couldn't win Wisconsin...there is no way Romney will either. Obama will win wisconsin by 8+ points.

    May 28, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Nice try on blaming money remember Obama raises more and receives more than anyone and it is not going to help him either

    Obama is also required list his donors ... ALL two million plus of them. SuperPacs running Wisconsin adds now aren't required to list ANYTHING. Who knows, it might be just one person spending all those millions of dollars in Wisconsin. Apparently that doesn't bother you. It should you know. Because after THIS election, should Walker once again win, he will once again be beholden to his money master. I'm guessing it's the same as the last one. And yes, Wisconsin will go the route most Southern States ... all those red states ... which are always listed last in nearly every category known. As it is, Walker has already given Wisconsin a heads up in lack of job growth, which is already at the bottom of ALL states, blue and red.

    May 28, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Marcus

    Two things:
    First no name calling is needed when you have a solid argumentation based on facts and not propaganda, so 'lefty fellas' don't go doing what right wing fellas have to since every single 'fact' that they point out can be debunked or pu back in its original context.
    Second: Richard T, thanks for finally saying something about the senators too.

    May 28, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. valwayne

    Its good to see that Gov Walker and the people that are backing his reform movement have come to the table with enough money to get their message across to the good voters of WI. The corrupt alliance between the democratic party and the public employee unions that was bankrupting the state and taking it down the path of CA and IL certainly have had no shortage of support from unions and extreme left wing special interest groups. If WI is going to stay on the path to recovery, growth, and jobs the amazing voters of WI have to stay strong and continue to beat back the corruption that wants to get its hands back into their pockets. The amazing voters of WI have truly led the way to real reform. One more tiime in June and they will set the example to reform our nation and get it back on the path to growth and jobs by rejecting Obama in Nov!

    May 28, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    If WI is going to stay on the path to recovery, growth, and jobs the amazing voters of WI have to stay strong and continue to beat back the corruption that wants to get its hands back into their pockets.

    So, when are all these miracles to happen? You know, the job growth and such. As I stated previously, THERE HAS BEEN NO job growth under the Kochs', er ... I mean, Walkers rule. Quite the contrary, actually. It's fallen to last in the nation.

    Condescension might work where you come from, but in Wisconsin ... not so much.

    May 28, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. switters

    Walker should save his money for his legal defense.......

    May 28, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. ChrisM

    Remember, good people of Wisconsin, walker wants to divide and conquer. What the h3ll kinds of person/govenor wants to do that? Vote this poc walker out of office now!!

    May 28, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. ChrisM

    Why does walker need a legal defense fund, huh? he did something really bad, ? Yep, I think so

    May 28, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. normajean @ verizon ,com

    To Jake:...... The two party system has already been dismantled and it was done the day our president was inaugurated and the Repubs had a meeting which included Mitch McConnell saying that their one direction in this political picture was to "make Obama a one term president" . They have worked very hard to do just that which is the reason they are still being called the party of "NO"....Jake ,,,if you don't know this by now.....you have a problem!!
    !!

    May 28, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. beny

    If Walker wins and starts to ruin their lives even more then those who voted for him will have nobody to blame but themselves.

    May 28, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. Majicmahon

    Are u kidding us? What in God's name has Romney ever done to gain the faith of the Military over Obama. It's BS CNN and you have finally lost my respect. Jack & Blitz are so Right-Wing and now I see CNN going Fox on us. Bon Chance on you voyage "downhill".

    May 28, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. Sue

    And, based on the polling from Wisconsin.....Romney will win in Wisconsin, NOT Obama!! Voters want jobs, not foodstamps and welfare.

    May 28, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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