Presidential campaign spend outpacing 2004


A new study from the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project has revealed that the campaigns of Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) are taking to the air at an accelerated rate, compared to George W. Bush (R-TX) and John Kerry (D-MA) in the prior presidential contest. Total ads in the post-primary season are up fro 77K to 100K. This is despite the fact that in 2004 the general campaign essentially kicked off in March, while Obama didn’t sew up his party’s nomination until early June. $50M has already been put into advertising.

Obama has the edge on spending, $27M to $21M, but McCain has been also benefited from RNC spending, to the tune of $3.6M. The DNC has not yet entered the fray.

The UWAP report makes use of data from TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG and uses analysis from Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications.

Pennsylvania has been the hottest battleground thus far, with over $10M coming from the candidates and the RNC (McCain $4.6M, Obama $3.9M, RNC $1.5M).

RBR/TVBR observation: The two campaigns are active in 14 states, and Obama is benefiting from unanswered spots in six more, despite the fact that we are still over three months out from Election Day and the conventions are almost a month away. And if you’re not sure the battleground has been expanded, check out North Dakota – both campaigns are have spent there. And the Obama-only list includes Alaska and Montana. Amazing.

Radio is traditionally the neglected step-child in matters political, until the buys get so hot and heavy that they flood out television avails. Radio will get a share when that happens, and it may also slurp up business from traditional advertisers squeezed off of television. The battlefield is really expanding, as detailed above, so no matter where you are there’s a chance some extra business may come your way.

Airwaves contested by Obama, McCain and the RNC

Michigan $2.240M $2.655M $769K
Ohio $2.486M $2.568M $904K
Pennsylvania $3.937M $4.602M $1.524M
Wisconsin $1.198M $1.426M $499K
Other battleground states $17.049M $8.135M $0

Airwaves contested by Obama and McCain

Colorado $802K $1.104M
Iowa $700K $946K
Minnesota $70K $575K
Missouri $1.246M $1.6M
North Dakota $157K $71K
New Hampshire $391K $342K
New Mexico $260K $440K
Nevada $633K $1.134M
Virginia $2.660M $1.509M
West Virginia $166K $414K

Obama has the airwaves to himself

Florida $5.028M
Georgia $1.824M
North Carolina $1.620M
Indiana $1.268M
Montana $136K
Alaska $88K

Source: TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, Wisconsin Advertising Project