The University of Wisconsin Advertising Project found that this year’s presidential race is shattering all television spending records, led by Sen. Obama (Ill.), who is on pace to spend $100 million in October.
The Democrat’s decision to forgo federal funding for the general election and continue to raise unprecedented amounts of money from private donors is paying dividends. He’s been able to significantly outspend Sen. McCain (Ariz.), who has to make do with $84 million in public financing that he received following the GOP nomination.
“Political scientists usually think that presidential races are poor places to find advertising effects because both campaigns typically have similar resources and air ads in similar markets,” said Ken Goldstein, the director of the Wisconsin Advertising Project. “The advertising advantage held by the Obama campaign this year puts us in unchartered waters. This year the spending is hugely unequal and in some cases, the Obama campaign has massive advantages.”
In the week of Oct. 21 to 28, Obama spent nearly $21.5 million on TV ads, compared to McCain’s nearly $7.5 million. That total does not include the money spent on the half-hour “infomercial” that the Democrat produced and aired on Wednesday. In addition, the Republican National Committee (RNC) spent $6.7 million on White House ads in the same span.
The bulk of the ads were purchased in red states. The RNC spent more than 90 percent of its money in those places, compared to more than 70 percent each for the Obama and McCain campaigns.
The Democrat is pursuing a strategy that makes Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia priorities, spending $4.6 million in Florida last week and a combined $5.1 million in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Obama outspent McCain nearly 4 to 1 in Virginia and slightly more than 3 to 1 in Florida. Overall, the Republican is outspending Obama only in Iowa.