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

    "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!!"

    No, according to most liberals, and even some conservatives, the big money needs to be taken out of politics NOW! And as far as "fat cats" go, less than 100 extremely wealthy people have donated 70-80% of ALL campaign contributions to ALL parties and PACs. Rmoney is by far the greatest beneficiary. Try to keep up.

    May 28, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. bla

    Odds are he'll weather it. Because he's got friends in high places, and who needs voters when you've got those?

    For the people, by the people my ass.

    May 28, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. jim

    Walker told his lies and deserves to lose, but that's the american way.

    May 28, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. Dee

    All the other Presidents played golf or was on the ranch raking tumbleweed and noone criticized them but poor President Obama he is damned if he do and damned if he dosen't. If it was snowing in the summertime he would be accused of causing that it is pathetic.

    The GOP made a pact from day one that he would be a one term President and that they were not going to pass anything, this is why he could not fullfill all his promises and the country can not move forward they are high- jacking the economy.

    May 28, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  5. recall

    have to watch out for banksters plants and front orgs in universities. Our industrial engineering teachers were glowing about McKinsey and Co., and now we fing out they are just fronts for banksters. They taught that you shouldn't need unions (if industry was ideal, which i assure you it is not). I suspect a lot of folks with believe their training (its a university after all), and not realize they are being lead by banksters.

    May 28, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  6. Hairbear

    I'm sure the people of Wisconsin will see thru this tactic! If that's the only way to win and election than shame on them! I hope the good folks kick the Bum out! The middle class is at war right here at home with the Rich Class! By voting this fat pocket of the rich out, send them a message, were fired up and ready to roll!

    May 28, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  7. w.g.

    Actually if walker was doing a good job we wouldn't be doing a recall election would we ?
    But he's not doing a good job just showing you what a romney term would be like for
    teachers and firemen and police men and the common man .

    May 28, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The idea that Walker connected the buget problem to public workers that help the public in their daily needs is just a right wing looney idea. There was no need for it other than ideological.

    May 28, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  9. Poor Man's Dream

    Funny... Walker won the first time by 5% and is leading by 6-8% this time.

    Seems like a massive WASTE of tax dollars to have a recall election on bogus grounds like they did.

    May 29, 2012 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  10. Iamnotfooled

    Don't give up Wisconsin-–you can do it. Don't believe in Polls. Barrett 2012 . Obama 2012. Fired -up! Ready to go?
    Do not let that snake-Divide and Conquer.

    May 29, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  11. Wynter

    You forgot to mention that most of that money going to Walker's Ad Blitz is coming from outside Wisconsin. Whereas Barrett has the majority of his grassroots funding coming from within Wisconsin. I find this telling as those outside Wisconsin do NOT have a vote in this recall election but have the lion's share of the media voice. Not a good way to run a clean election. Ads need to make it clear who is funding these ads and from where they are out of state versus in state funded.

    May 29, 2012 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  12. Wynter

    This recall should be a wake up call for all the conservatives trying to buy elections. The people of Wisconsin and the people of this country are not going along with your hype. Walker is going down hard as well as all the Tea Party favorites in Congress. It's time to clean them out of office.

    May 29, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  13. American

    Walker has done a great disservice to the good people of Wisconsin by taking away rights from American workers. It's wrong & embarrassing for the state.

    Please recall Walker & restore justice.

    May 29, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  14. TJeff1776

    One MUST remember THAT the ABA, AMA, ATA, etc etc are ALL unions. That includes family unions and State unions. Even the Civil War was over saving the Federal "union".. The point here IS that the United State is full of Unions and overlapping unions. BUT more importantly IF you don't belong to a union, then you should. Governor Walker is about destroying the poor man's unions in order to give them no voice. He wants only rich people's unions around. Some corporate unions and poor people unions are corrupt, for sure, BUT that doesn't negate the need for them..

    May 29, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  15. AiyeSiss

    Wake Up Wisconsin! Your state may be purchased by the Koch Brothers. Vote AGAINST the republican thugs that have washed your state in dirty money. They earned their money the hard way: They shut down businesses to get it.

    May 29, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. Richie

    I doubt the people of Wisconsin will inject this Governor back to his sit. He had what he had done to make the few wealthy people happier. He out sale the majority of working Wisconsinites and purely sided to those who have it. I think it is the good opportunity for Wisconsinites to go vote out this Governor from his sit.

    May 29, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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