Election price tag could reach $6 billion
October 31st, 2012
09:02 PM ET
6 years ago

Election price tag could reach $6 billion

(CNN) - How much will be spent on the 2012 federal elections?

A report released Wednesday says the total spending amount could top a record-breaking $6 billion, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

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As CNN reported earlier this year, that's enough money to give 6/7ths of the world's population $1 each.

The figure includes spending by presidential, Senate and House campaigns, as well as parties, super PACs and convention committees.

Outside groups accounted for the biggest boost in spending, with independent organizations dropping more than $970 million this cycle. The increase is largely related to the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that paved the way for the creation of super PACs, which are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money as long as they don't coordinate with the campaigns.

Such groups, the report says, have been spending "furiously" in the final weeks before Election Day, "rising from $19 million per week in early September to $33 million per week in early October to $70 million during the week beginning October 21."

Based on filings with the Federal Election Commission, the report estimates $2.6 billion will be spent on the presidential race alone, down from $2.8 billion in 2008. More than $528 million of that is likely to come from outside spending.

The center finds that congressional races have experienced the largest increase in spending. House and Senate candidates combined will spend about $1.8 billion, with the increase mainly coming from Republican candidates.

The report also shows that Republicans have raised more than Democrats in House and the Senate campaigns.

- CNN's Robert Yoon and Halimah Abdullah contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • House • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Rob-Me & Lyin' Ryan Lie a LOT!

    You can thank the right-wing radicals on the United Stated Supreme Court for this situation. The Citizen's United ruling was the worst decision in the history of the court and only reflects the intent of the Republicans on the Court to influence outcome of elections. They are not fit to wear the robes.

    October 31, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  2. Enough already

    Origin of Left & Right...
    I have often wondered why it is that Conservatives are
    called the "right" and Liberals are called the "left."
    By chance I stumbled upon this verse in the Bible:
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart
    of the fool to the left." Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)
    Thus sayeth the Lord. Amen.
    Can't get any simpler than that.
    and now for a Spelling Lesson---
    The last four letters in American..........I Can
    The last four letters in Republican.......I Can
    The last four letters in Democrats.........Rats
    End of lesson. Test to follow in November, 2012.
    Remember, November is to be set aside as rodent
    removal month.

    October 31, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. Observer

    I've said this once before rather than all these people p*ssing away all that cash, the people running for office should invest that money in new enterprises a year before the election and see who's ideas and business flourish the most, by bring new jobs into the economy. Then once the resluts in Americans can decide who used the money to best benefit the economy. Now have the election. Americans aren't stupid they'll be able to decide upon that alone. Oh and the only media sanctioned to talk about the election, will have to provide a balanced view.

    I know just dreaming, but I'm allowed, better then throwing all that cash in the fireplace.

    October 31, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  4. Bill

    We can provide that into the deficit. I can't figure out how the politician with the most money wins? Should have same money and compete.

    October 31, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  5. David

    Thank you Supreme Court!

    October 31, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. My Panties and Your Panties

    Aw, GeezUs! That is terrible.

    October 31, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  7. CMoney

    This is only half the story. The loss of revenues from business is not included in this number. Due to the fact that all advertising has been priced out in competitive markets a local business can't afford to drive customers in the door. This is a huge hit in those economies and we saw the same thing in 2008. The local dealerships, diners, paperboy, strip clubs, auto shops have to sit on the side line until advertisements become more affordable. This spending hurts the nation more than it helps.

    October 31, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. 2smokey

    Where did SIX BILLION DOLLARS come from in these difficult times? That 6 billion could have repaired a lot of the crumbling intrastructure in this country, could have fed a lot of hungry people... where are we headed?

    October 31, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  9. Not Sayin

    I think it's time for both campaigns to stop spending, pay their staffers and use whatever's left for the victims of the storm.

    October 31, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  10. t3chn0ph0b3

    Thank you, Supreme Court, for allowing corporations to purchase legislation wholesale and anonymously.

    The five of you who found in favor of superpacs should be in prison for selling out democracy.

    October 31, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  11. rob

    Thank you conservative scum on the Supreme Court for selling our democracy to the highest bidder.

    October 31, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  12. Anuj

    How about donating this money to the storm victims from today onwards. Choice is yours–



    October 31, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. bibleverse1

    We need to take the money out of the elections and abolish these superpacs and not allow corporations to donate because corporations cant vote. We also need to make stronger lobbyist rules. And cut the salary of all elected officials in Washington DC and staff by 25%. I feel the American people only got 75% of their effort for the last few years.

    October 31, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  14. Barak Lincoln

    ...and that would cut the deficit by how much?????

    October 31, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  15. William

    Honest questions: so we have $6 billion going back into the economy...what sort of effect does this have on...well, everything?

    Do only TV and radio stations benefit? Does this mean their CFO plan budgets expecting a windfall like this every 4 years?

    October 31, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  16. G

    Why not send some of that money to aid those hit by the hurricane and blizzard?

    October 31, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  17. Citizens United

    It is pretty clear that in the Citizens United Decision the SCOTUS chose paid advertising over free speech and integrity died in the process.

    October 31, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  18. a slozomby

    meanwhile fema is broke

    October 31, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. Brian Gerlach

    I don't think any amount of money would switch my decision to be a straight ticket voter this year. I vote with a conscious and with self-interest at heart. The incumbent President is not void of fault, this is true. But it takes positions in a platform, trust, previous record...it takes knowledge about all of these things. The internet has gone a long way towards a more informed voter. None of that wonk spin matters not to this educated man. The money spent would be meaningless, actually. Interesting how most don't think so, especially the exploitation experts on cable/satellite news networks.

    I know exactly what I don't like about Barack Obama, it's Matt Stoller's recent piece on progressives. Judging by his Saturday radio address, or the 60Minutes interview...he knows his weakness with people like me.

    October 31, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. Ron L- Mich

    What I find amazing is you have some of the ultra rich donating 5 to 20 million dollars for political ads to defeat the President. I have a question. Are political donations to super pacs tax deductible?? Even a small percentage? If they are this deduction definitely needs to stop!!! These large sums of money coming from one individual is a harmful and potentially dangerous trend. Here in Michigan, we have the billionaire owner of the Ambassador Bridge to Canada spending 10's of millions of dollars of his own money trying to prevent the building of a second bridge just so his monoply has no competition!!! Canada has agreed to pay for the bridge because they want to redirect all of the traffic coming off the current bridge to another area in their country. But the money hungry billionaire does NOT want anyone one disturbing his unending cash flow. Like I wrote before, a very dangerous and potentially harmful trend.

    October 31, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  21. Deborah

    Ah. So this is what we have come to. What a sad state of affairs.

    May the best, not the richest, man win.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 31, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. ladybear

    Think what this money could do, if put to a use to benefit the country, instead of being used to spread fear, hate and lies to benefit the aristocracy by buying the government. Could build a few schools or hospitals, repair a bridge or 2, improve transit. Distributed amoungst the poorest families, it would buy new shoes for all the kids in the country and put warm coats on their backs. Time for limits to campaign spending. Banish PACS.

    October 31, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  23. Larry in Houston

    imagine if that kind of money was spent on reducing the debt – ( the 16 trillion ) or if it was spent on infrastructure / roads / bridges / firemen / policemen / teachers / & the List goes on.

    May the Best Man Win – – 2012

    October 31, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  24. Both_R_Losers

    Since they are buying the elections anyway, why don't they just pay it out to the voters. Then, who ever pays each voter the most, wins. The way we are doing it now, the big media companies get all of the cash and we get the shaft.

    October 31, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  25. David

    I have an idea...why don't they take that money and put it toward disaster relief and recovery...you know something that will be worth the investment

    October 31, 2012 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
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