Election price tag could reach $6 billion
October 31st, 2012
09:02 PM ET
10 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. MetalMatt

    The best candidate in the world: Advertising budget 0. Nuff said.

    October 31, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  2. gordyb

    The money wasted on elections is obscene. The citizens united ruling has undermined our democracy. There is no accountability on where or the amount of money that is effecting elections. Nothing prevents foreign companies or governments from influencing our elections. This waste and threat needs to be addressed and reformed.

    October 31, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  3. Ben

    And people whine that the space program is a pointless waste of money that could be put to better purposes? Cripes.

    October 31, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  4. toco

    wow this is wrong on so many levels

    October 31, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  5. NameGetahun Abebe

    it is very apreciable expense if we have got half for our country like ethiopia most people living with a drought may be it can save a million life from death who are suffering tn lack of food

    October 31, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  6. Ian

    What a total waste of money

    October 31, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  7. fernace

    Since Romney is so gung how to repeal, Citizens United is absolutely in need of it! Except he likes the questionable law w/the questionable name! The name sound patriotic & innocuous, but it really means a free-for-all by big corperations to sink as much $$$ as they want in any election! This is an unfair advantage over Actual citizens, who don't have billions of dollars to spend to get their concerns heard, as it caters to the 1%! Repealing this unfair "Corperations are People" law will do nothing to stop these bigwigs from voting or donating as private citizens, as it should be, but it will bring back a more level playingfield for the rest of us! Also, it might stop the bigwig bosses from theatning to fire people if they don't vote a certain way! I hope Obama will tackle this issue in his next term! Obama Nov6!!

    October 31, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  8. Robert Hallman Jr

    America is the greatest country in the world and I served this country for 32 years in the Army & Army National Guard. I also served about 25 years in the Federal Civil Service. When the founding father's created our Constitution they provided that EVERYONE should have an EQUAL chance to run for an elected office. The way our electoral system has evolved that is almost impossible unless you are wealthy. The system needs to be changed so that everyone regardless of their income can seek an elected office if they choose to do so. The change needs to come from us, the individual voters by using our collective voting power. We need to send a loud and clear message to Congress that the way of conducting politics in this country needs to change. No matter how much money they spend cannot offset the fact that We the People have the collective vote. If a person is in an elected position and their interest is to perpetuate themselves as a career politition then we need to vote them out. No matter what, it is important for all registered voters to go to the polls this election day and make the politions here our voices.

    October 31, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  9. Why, this is obserd

    Why that much money for a job that does not pay very much at all? Are these people that run absolutely nutz?

    November 1, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  10. Balls McGhee

    and we cant give the veterans a 1 billion jobs bill. Shame on the House of Representatives.

    November 1, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  11. MashaSobaka

    But PBS, Pell Grants, and Planned Parenthood are bleeding us dry. ...Uh-huh. I'm so totally convinced.

    November 1, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  12. Name

    Tax the campaign funds as income !!!!

    November 1, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  13. Aerin

    This is disgusting. Citizens United is an abomination and needs to be sent to the shredder ASAP. What a colossal waste of money.

    November 1, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  14. DisgustedCitizen

    This country and its politicians – ALL of them – should be ashamed. We've got real problems and no money to fix them but $6B to blow on a 4 year term in which nothing will get done, no matter who wins, anyway. This country is just in one constant election cycle.

    Extremers on both sides need to slide a little in the opposite direction and work together for REAL change. Do you not understand that it is the only way we will ever accomplish anything and save this country??? The middle roaders like myself are not undecided voters!!! We know we don't want either and that middle ground is where the solutions lay.

    I challenge my fellow citizens to demand better from our leaders and candidates in both parties. Stop being stubborn and closed minded. You are the true problem and driving force behind the polarization and degradation of our society. Stop being sheep so easily led to believe what you are told. Demand balance. Learn to love and work together. When natural disasters happen, much like this week, we all seem to pull together, put differences aside, and accomplish great things out of love, compassion and respect. Why is it then that when our country faces political, financial, and infrastructure disasters we can't do the same thing?? The reason we accomplish so much in the event of natural disasters is because we work together. There's a theme here. Get it??! Now LIVE it.

    November 1, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  15. Andrew

    Democracy in America is dead.

    November 1, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  16. sugar

    You've got to be kidding. Why didn't they just burn it? At least then it would have served an actual purpose by creating some heat!

    November 1, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  17. Thomas

    Thank you very much Supreme Court.

    6 billion , and how much is minimum wage these days ?

    And who says government doesn't create jobs !

    November 1, 2012 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  18. Ghette Jones

    I suppose Warren Buffet and Bill Gates can give a few billions to buy a president

    November 1, 2012 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  19. Safejourney

    Tell the campaigns to give the money to the Americans that need it now and stop the stu p i d ads

    November 1, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  20. Worm Turns Around

    Wowzers! That means the poor people will have a dollar? If it does, don't give the Chinese. All of the spending now goes where?

    November 1, 2012 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  21. Djenk

    It's a shame that 6 billion can be spent on campaigning when America is 16 billion in debt. The poor are watching this with not a care in the world who wins the election, either way, it won't benefit them, why vote and for what??

    November 1, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  22. Old Hateful Greedy White men

    The big buessiness behind the superpacs could have spent that money on hiring you, but they are investing it in Mitt Romney so they won't have to.

    November 1, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  23. Get Real

    Too bad that money can't be put to better use like helping the storm victims or even getting the National Debt paid down.

    November 1, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  24. Name Independent Thinker

    We need to go back to the good ole days, NO OUTSIDE MONEY. We don't need groups who wont tell you where their money is coming from, and trying to buy the presidency. Let us hope that somewhere along the line Citizens United can be repealed. I do believe that this is more important, than trying to repeal Roe v Wade.

    November 1, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  25. Jake

    A few misleading "facts" in this piece. From the report linked at the top of the article: "The increase in the House is mainly among Republican candidates and is accounted for by the big increase in Republican House members due to the 2010 wave election. Incumbents outraise their challengers, in general, and freshmen often raise more than other incumbents because their first reelection campaign is seen as their most difficult. This year is proving no different." and then later, "Republican House candidates have also raised more on average - $712,000 to $594,000, –though Democrats did better than Republicans in the Senate, on average, raising $3.8 million to Republicans' $2.6 million on average." The last statement of this article is completely misleading.

    November 1, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
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