December 12th, 2007
09:24 AM ET
12 years ago

Top candidates spend more than $13 million so far on Iowa ads

Edwards, Clinton, and Obama have invested millions in Iowa televsion ads.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Less than one month before the Iowa caucuses, several presidential candidates are opening up their wallets and targeting Hawkeye State voters in a television ad blitz that so far has cost more than $13 million.

Most of the money is being spent by the three Democratic frontrunners, who view a win in Iowa as important in the march to their party’s presidential nomination.

Leading the pack is Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who has run nearly 8,000 television ads this year at a cost of more than $4 million, according to an analysis conducted by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, CNN’s consultant on television ad spending. Meanwhile, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has spent $3 million on 5,100-plus ads, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards has devoted $1.3 million to air more than 2,000 ads.

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, new polling shows that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is leading in Iowa even though former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has saturated the airwaves with campaign ads. Romney has invested $4.1 million to run more than 7,000 ads in the Hawkeye State, while Huckabee’s television advertising buys has been negligible. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson trails a distant second to Romney in Iowa in terms of ad buys with around 1,050 campaign commercials aired at a cost of $600,000.

Huckabee’s sudden rise to the top of Iowa and some national polls is the result of his strategy to largely stay clear of criticizing his opponents, and the conservative evangelical community embracing his Baptist minister credentials. But Iowa polls are an imprecise yardstick to predict a winner of the caucuses, which are historically won by the candidate with the most finely-tuned ground operation. Romney has been building his get-out-the-vote effort for the past year, while Huckabee is now just starting to put his in place.

As for the Democrats: Clinton, Edwards and Obama are locked in a tight battle for the hearts and souls of Hawkeye State caucus voters who tend to lean towards the more liberal side of the political spectrum.

The Iowa caucuses will be held January 3rd followed five days later by the New Hampshire primary.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

UPDATE: At this point in 2003, the presidential candidates spent a combined total of $2.3 million on television ads in Iowa, according to Evan Tracey of TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG. When you taken into account each buy placed by every candidate this year in the Hawkeye State, this number jumps to $17.3 million.



Filed under: Iowa • Political ads • Presidential Candidates
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. aj huntington ny.

    Give the $13 million to cancer research or to help the people of New Orleans, and let each of these arrogant politicians have 15 minutes of air time every month until the election. This country can come up with tens of millions for some things but not for others.

    December 11, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |

    Looks like the real reason States want their Caucus Primaries to be earlier than others is to get Revenue into the tax flow!

    If it weren't for Primaries, maybe some states would resort to growing poppy plants to boost the budget.

    December 11, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  3. Mel Content, Jefferson City, MO

    "Less than one month before the Iowa caucuses, several presidential candidates are opening up their wallets and targeting Hawkeye State voters in a television ad blitz that so far has cost more than $13 million."

    Iowa: Population 2,982,085 (2006 estimate)

    That boils down to roughly 2 million registered voters (per the FEC) and that translates into $6.50 spent per vote – and this isn't even a real election.

    I have a hardtime listening to any candidate preach fiscal responsibility when they routinely spend money on elections like crazy

    December 11, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. Wyatt Medford,Oregon

    once again, if you got the cash you got the vote and the only loser is the American citizen. The only hope is to Vote BIDEN and help win back the Whitehouse for the average american.

    December 11, 2007 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  5. Dickson,Newton,Iowa

    I prefer Barack Obama's experience to Hilary's. After college he went to work in the Southside of Chicago to help the urban poor develop a plan to work their community and families out of poverty. He is a brilliant and ethical human being, with family connections in Christian Africa and Muslim Indonesia, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, and a progressive Democrat with a civil tongue, a loving heart, and a tough streak when it comes to enemies of the United States and the hardworking people of this country. He has the kind of centrist appeal that Robert and John Kennedy had, and like them he is a young leader. Like many of us, he comes from a single parent woman-led family and worked his way up to where he is today. I strongly believe that he could make us not only the strongest country in the world, but the most respected. Again.

    December 11, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  6. Joan,houston,tx

    I wish Republicans could give me all that money instead of throwing it away....

    December 11, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  7. Ike Woodbridge, VA 22192

    A vote for Obama is a wasted vote. Vote for Hillary Clinton, she is our best chance to win back the WhiteHouse. Vote Hillary.

    December 12, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. RealityKing

    I wonder who's getting "family discounts" on their ads??

    December 12, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  9. Gary,Walhalla,SC

    Where are you Al Gore?The democrats are fixing to blow it again with unelectable candidates.Wake up party leaders and draft Gore before it is too late.GORE 2008! REAL LEADERSHIP,REAL COURAGE,REAL CHANGE FOR A BETTER WORLD.

    December 12, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. anon New York, NY

    Hillary Clinton is a former first lady with 100 percent name recognition.

    On top of that, despite spending 7 million dollars on TV time, she still is not leading in Iowa.

    December 12, 2007 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Amy, FL

    GORE/BIDEN 08!
    (if only....)



    Smarten up Dems! We cannot afford to blow this election.

    December 12, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. Willy, Chesapeake, VA

    Thank goodness for the republicans, they will keep the W.H. and retake Congress. Thank you democrats and Howard Dean.

    December 12, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Daniel, NY

    A new Iowa poll just released has Obama leading Clinton by 8% - his biggest lead yet in the state.

    December 12, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Sarah, Laconia, NH

    Dirty politics:

    "Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said they would continue at least some form of attack on Mr. Obama, even at the risk of allowing Mr. Edwards to gain ground by presenting himself as above the fray. Mrs. Clinton’s aides said they were far more worried about Mr. Obama marching out of Iowa with a victory than they were about Mr. Edwards, who has far less money and lacks a strong base of support in New Hampshire." – The New York Times

    December 12, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Cathi, Greenville, SC

    The outlandish campaign spending has got to stop. It is an absolute disgrace and slap in the face to all Americans who need financial help for health care, education, safety, homelessness. I say cap campaign spending at $2M per candidate, make all TV and radio stations have to do campaign ads for free, and make it illegal for any candidate (for any office in our country) to start campaigning until exactly 90 days before the election. Not before the first caucus, but before the actual primary. And how about this – 33 centers of every dollar collected as campaign contributions has to be given to the federal government!

    December 12, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. David, Dallas Tx

    This article makes me glad I don't live in Iowa.

    December 12, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Michele, Indiana

    I am registered as a Democrat so unfortunately, I cannot vote for Ron Paul in the primaries. Republicans, please pay attention and realize many, many Dems are willing to elect the Republican Ron Paul if you will give him his chance.

    December 12, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  18. PollM, Dallas Texas

    Can Mitt Romney win the Republican Party nomination without the support of the Christian right?


    December 12, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. demwit

    Thank God for the remote control!!

    December 12, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Jeff Sacramento, CA

    I hope everyone keeps in mind the real issues that face our country, and keeps a desire to change those things. Please put partisan politics aside (Ike)and vote for a candidate who could help to better this great nation of OURS.

    Republicans & Democrats are always gonna have opposing ideas. Its always a task to get the two to agree. Which, of all of the candidates, could gain enough support from both parties to usher through ANY CHANGE?

    If we as Americans want to have a better country. If we want to have a better standing in the world's opinion... it starts with getting along with our fellow American. If we elect a President that can't get along with others...change isn't going to happen. PLEASE VOTE FOR CHANGE!!! 08'

    December 12, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. J Houston, TX

    Give the $13 million to cancer research or to help the people of New Orleans, and let each of these arrogant politicians have 15 minutes of air time every month until the election. This country can come up with tens of millions for some things but not for others.

    Posted By aj huntington ny. : December 11, 2007 8:31 pm

    RIGHT ON! Politics is disgusting these days. A candidate who didn't campaign and gave to charity would have my vote almost instantly.

    December 12, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Carl, Dallas, TX

    Anyone remember how much that child insurance bill was in Congress that Bush vetoed? How much was it for?

    I bet that 13 million could go to some much needed medical care for kids....

    Which brings us to the main point... why are they spending this much? I think our taxes should pay for equal amounts of air time. Give them all like 1 million each, plus the air time...

    POOF... just saved our government another 100 million in campaign spending to elect the same person...

    December 12, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. k.g. - st louis mo.

    It's crazy – the networks radio stations and cable stations are making $$hundreds of millions $ on ad time. Of course they want to rachet up the competition and dirty politics for ratings !

    December 12, 2007 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  24. Brandon, Tucson AZ

    It surprises me that so many people are unfamiliar with Presidential politics. Large sums of money have always been spent on getting a candidates message to the general public. Some, like Romney and Obama, spend more because not everyone in America already knows their name (i.e. Hilary and the Mayor). This money is not coerced from anyone and some of it is even from the candidate’s personal bank accounts. The money is not yours, so relax!

    December 12, 2007 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  25. Ryan, Youngstown, OH

    read it, learn it, love it, vote it

    Vote Ron Paul

    December 13, 2007 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
1 2