GOP outspends Dems to run ads in Wisconsin recall
May 28th, 2012
10:52 AM ET
6 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. AKsteve

    I love how OUTSIDE tea party groups come to our homes and tell US what to do. They tried it in Alaska and thankfully didn't succeed. When people who don't live in a state can control the outcome of an election with money then democracy is over. The Tea Party is the fall of America.

    May 28, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. EddyL

    Only a moron would vote for a Republican.

    May 28, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. E. Montez


    "The Vets see thru him and it's a Pathetic thing to do. Truth is, you'll find Obama on the golf course if you need him" Really who was on the golf course when the war in Iraq and Afganistan was going on and did not give much thought about when Bin Ladin was and even said so himself President Bush and who said we should not go into Pakistan without out permission Mitt Romney-before you post read a little and also ask a veteran like myself before assuming what vets are thinking not all vets believe the BS coming from the right about how much they care they have a far larger majority that has not serve in the military compared to Democrats again read more about it before posting.

    May 28, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. sonnie3

    Happy Memorial Day to All
    Take Care and Good Bless

    May 28, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. ataxed99er

    The polls are skewed. I have friends in Waukesha county a GOP strobhold that have been polled 3 or 4 times. I don't know anyone in the madison area who has been polled even once.

    May 28, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Larry L

    What a shock! The fat-cats can out-spend the working folks! Who knew?

    May 28, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. Tony

    Cutting taxes does not create jobs. Governor Walker cut taxes and took away the collective bargaining rights of unions, but in 2011, Walker's first year as governor, Wisconsin was dead last among the 50 states in job creation. Romney is running on the same plan: cutting taxes. In Wisconsin, people have learned that cutting taxes fattens the pockets of the rich but does not create jobs.

    Recall Governor Walker. Make sure that Romney stays a former governor. Cutting taxes did not create jobs under Bush. It did not create jobs in Wisconsin. But Republicans keep on coming back with the same plan. Don't repeat the mistake that Wisconsin voters made in 2010.

    May 28, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. Oh Come On

    Walker is filthy with corrupt rich friends. He's bought and paid for. You can tell when he's's when his mouth moves.

    May 28, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. craig

    If nothing else, we will learn something about the ability to buy elections from all of this. We might also learn whether people in Wisconsin can see beyond the mud and sense the truth. The Unions offered to help with the economic issues the state confronted, but that wasn't what the battle was all about...and we all know that. This is about corporations taking over the government...and just consider this another scene in Act I. Act II will come in November.

    May 28, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. Larry L


    "Liberals picked a fight with the bear, and the bear is winning.

    Should've left the bear alone"
    It's not about "liberals and bears". It's about the working class trying to have a voice in Wisconsin's government. It's about the Koch brothers buying your government and corporate leaders getting richer on the backs of the workers. It's about mindless, Fox News-charged, Tea Baggers being afraid of the modern world of diversity and upward mobility for everybody. You're being used.

    May 28, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. scott

    I am a teacher and a tax payer in WI. Walker has cost my family over 7,000 dollars. My taxes have not been lowered. There are 90,000 teachers in WI with the same cuts; we aren't spending the money they have taken away. Not a great economy stim program.

    May 28, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  12. Sue

    According to the liberals.......It is only okay for the "fat cats" to spend money on elections, only if they are supporting Obama and the Democrats.........Hope and change for 2012, Obama forced out of the White House!!

    May 28, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. Jersey Girl

    If Walker wins again, he will be beholden to his $ people, the Koch Brothers and others, and this will embolden the Repubs in other states, so WISCONSIN, do the right thing! Remember, the grassroots good Wisconsin people spent an entire year getting signatures to get rid of Walker, and the people in other states are paying attention!

    May 28, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. Jay

    The rich brothers wants Wisconsin to be like the southern slave states, where Companies walk over workers, and pay slave wages.

    May 28, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. Gurgyl

    GOP is bunch of idiot. Happy memorial day. Drive safely!!!!god bless!!!

    May 28, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Dan

    As a veteran of Viet Nam, I cannot, for the life of me, see why so many vets like conservatives. They use soldiers like scrap paper. For instance, look at all the neocon chickenhawks who led us blindly into Iraq with lies, lies and more lies. Cheney got 5 draft deferments so he wouldn't have to serve in Viet Nam. Bush used political influence (Daddy) to get into the Texas Air National Guard (A picnic organization) where he spent most of the time AOL (absent on leave). Vets, conservatives are not, I repeat, not your friends and they do far less to support you when you come home. They are frauds and hypocrites. If you support conservatives, you really aren't in your right mind and, I might add, you deserve what they give you.

    May 28, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. Pete

    @sue and republicans ,Walker in his infinite wisdom shortly after being inaugerated gave your Koch brothers a very hefty tax break,2.3 billion to them and others!Then he did an about face and publicly stated how the state just happened to be showing shortage in state budget and that's how it got started.If you check the states budget against what was given to the Kochs and others,its almost identical,check for yourself,Walker is Kochs boy and should be sent to prison for his ignorence,but then you republicans would all go,so sorry!!He's been pointing fingers at everyone but himself,time Walker to pay the piper I say,come clean and let corporations like the Koch brothers pay their own way,no help from Walker,Scott,Haley and Kasich,he incidently is also being recalled.These tea bagging reps will all go and if not you'll see an eventual civil war with the middleclass and poor against the rich,it'll be nasty,so pick your side,I have!!!

    May 28, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. Mario

    Keep Walker and the TEA PARTY out of Politics. There are bad for our Country.

    May 28, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  19. trashcup

    So Walker thinks spending MILLIONS to STAY in office is OK when spending millions for the benefit of the people of Wisconsin is NOT. It's heart warming knowing the governorship can be bought and paid for with anonymous PAC money.

    What is happening to our country?

    May 28, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. RNC is out of touch with Latinos, Women and Middle Class Americans

    Gov. Walker is a disaster for WI. Early voting has begun go vote and bring all your family and friends. WI must stand up against the Koch Bros and Walker extreme agenda.

    May 28, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. dr

    Just wait until the truth comes out about Mitt's Mormon faith. I can't wait until they start asking tough questions about the blood atonement ceremony that is included in his secret society temple ritual. You think Rev. Wright is a big deal, wait until they pull the curtain back on the Mormons. Mitt is a vulture capitalist that took my company apart. Sent the labor overseas and made millions. This guy is just exactly what we need to finish this country off.

    May 28, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Walker will win..right is might

    May 28, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. Squigman

    Amazing. Republicans know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing. When it comes to buying their way into office, the sky's the limit. When it comes to war, the sky's the limit. When it comes to helping the poor and homeless, their pockets are empty. When it comes to health care, their pockets are empty. But let the possibility for political office present itself, and look out. The money machine runs like it's just been tuned to perfection. Kinda sickening.

    May 28, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. A

    Just returned from across the border. It appears everyone named Cletus is totally for Scott Walker. I didn't get to the educated part of town. Scott Walker did get to the educated part of town, he just lacks an education. Maybe that is why he hates only the teachers. Not any other untions....

    May 28, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  25. owen meany

    I think its INSANE for anyone to vote against this recall Gov Walker. My real concern is this is the GOPs real agenda. Destroy the middle class, eliminate education and deliberately make us a third world country so the corporate overlords can treat us any way they see fit. If they win here, they will be virtually unstopable and you will see state after state fall.

    May 28, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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