September 26th, 2008
06:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Political advertising reaches $1 billion; on pace for record

OXFORD, Mississippi (CNN) – Spending on political television advertising this campaign cycle exceeded $1 billion this week, and is on pace to reach $3 billion by Election Day.

The bulk of the money spent since the midterm elections – $425 million – has been spent by the White House hopefuls since the first presidential campaign ad appeared in December 2006, according to an analysis by TNSMI/Campaign Media Analysis Group for CNN.

With 39 days remaining before voters head to polls, Barack Obama and John McCain are each spending $3 million a day on political ads, which are running in a dozen or so battleground states and nationwide. When spending by down-ballot candidates, independent interest groups, and political parties is factored in, political ad spending per day for the past week averages $7.5 million.

“For all the talk about the new media’s influence, TV advertising is still the weapon of choice for candidates running for dog catcher all the way up to president of the United States,” said Evan Tracey, CMAG’s chief operating officer and CNN’s consultant on political ad spending.

Tracey noted that in the 2000 presidential election $1 billion in total was spent on all political ads. Ad spending rose to $1.7 billion in 2004, and jumped to $2.4 billion in 2006.

“Historically, 70 percent of the total amount spent on TV is in the last five weeks,” Tracey said. “This means airwaves all around the country will become predominately dominated by candidates, interest groups and political parties promoting their positions and attacking opponents.”

Filed under: Political ads
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. It is so obvious

    It is so clear that very few Obama supporters really know anything about the issues – ignorant, just like their candidate and just like their party.

    September 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  2. Griff

    I keep forgeting CNN are so full of their crap...Why try? The USA.. United Stupid. (None), Available... Super Power!?
    The EEC.. have now moved into your. Ignoramous stupidity...
    Be a leader! or be just another Iran..

    September 26, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. Richard Philadelphia

    Presidents can't "fix" economies. As an independent voter, I must chose between one party that has presented an inexperienced presidential candidate and the other party that has presented an inexperienced vice-presidential candidate. However, I am pro-national security/defense and pro-public safety. Biden may tip the scale for me. During his acceptance speech, he said he would put several brigades into Afghanistan and war ships near Georgia. I know the far-left had a collective heart-attack when he said this, put I had a sigh of relief. "Real-politik" is the way to survive in this world and I am sure our money will be well spent on the military if Biden becomes VP. Obama will take the back seat, as he should, just like Bush did to Chaney.

    September 26, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. Maggie

    This is really a waste of money. There are alot of homeless people who surely could have made use of this money and also people who are losing their homes in foreclosures. This presidential election is too long and drawnout and there should be a cap set on the amount of money that can be spent in advertising. I hope by the time the next elections come around in 4 years time there is a change made to stop all this wasteful spending on campaign advertising. So much money does not have to be spent for us to be able to chose our president. COME ON AMERICANS LETS STOP ALL THIS WASTE BECAUSE THERE ARE ALOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT NEED FINANCIAL AID AND THIS MONEY COULD HAVE BEEN USED TO HELP THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 26, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. Baze

    These guys are creating their own economy. A tribute to the revitalization of the U.S. of A


    September 26, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  6. His 15 minutes of fame

    Maggie, good point. Did you realize Obama initially supported the idea of public financing and then changed his mind when he figured he could get and spend a lot more.

    September 26, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  7. Zaley

    Vote the guy with one house.


    September 26, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. MT

    This is crazy! I am saddened that the media decided to run this story. The economy is so bad right now – is it affecting the candidates or the media. I think that would be a good newstory for us to hear how it is affecting them personally. I am so turned off by the election at this point. Although I am a democrat, I was so impressed with McCain's leadership by going to Washington and proposed that the debate not take place tonight. This leadership had impressed me and I might consider looking at him and the Republican party more and would consider voting for him.

    September 26, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    I guess democracy is expensive!

    September 26, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Dem for McCain

    Obama is the worst candidate in recent memory. And I'm a Dem.

    September 26, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  11. NOSS

    If ever there was a reason to invite socialism into an area of government; it would be campaign finance.
    Every candidate on equal financial footing would put the emphasis on the leadership, character, experience and other relevant content that would matter to the electorate. In other words, "The Cream Would Rise To The Top".

    September 26, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. Tina

    I think I'll take what's left of my retirement and pension, stuff it into an old sock and bury in the backyard.


    September 26, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  13. EqualBranchesofGovernment

    Imagine if Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee......he'd have spend the other half of his fortune.

    September 26, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. California Voter

    Isn't there something wrong with this picture???

    September 26, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. Annie

    Just heard a story on the news that the Republican holdouts on the bailout deal in the house want more government DEREGULATION and more TAX BREAKS FOR CORPORATIONS, as part of this agreement, which consists of a single page (their plan, that is).

    September 26, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
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