Decision ’06: How Expensive and How Competitive, Really?

When political analysts label election races as “competitive,

We at the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics have found that In the money race, incumbent senators have a 4:1 advantage over their current challengers. House incumbents have outraised their current challengers 7:2.

All told, we predict, this election will cost about $2.6 billion. That’s a lot compared to past elections – it’s shaping up to be the most expensive midterm election ever. But compared to other things, is what the U.S. spends on its federal elections really a lot of money? General Motors spent $3 billion on advertising alone in 2005. Americans will spend more eating out in restaurants over the course of two days than we’ll spend on this election. Coincidentally, conspiracy theorists, $2.6 billion—the Center’s election prediction—was the 2005 revenue of Diebold, maker of the machines many voters will encounter on Election Day.

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