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.”