Tracking Ads on the Campaign Trial


Media Monitors’ on-going monitoring of commercial and political campaigns this year had an added element of importance with the Republican and Democratic Primary Elections. Now that we know who the presumptive candidates are for each party, let’s look at what happened month to month in both parties’ use of radio:


The field started out with 15 candidates, which included John McCain, Ron Paul, Sam Brownback, Hugh Cort, John Cox, Dan Gilbert, Jim Gilmore, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Ray McKinney, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo, Fred Thompson and Tommy Thompson. What looked like sure defeat for John McCain turned around and he became the presumptive nominee. Let’s look at how the tracking of advertising moved through the months;

* First, the totals: John McCain ran 3,995 spots from December 2007 to April 2008. Mike Huckabee ran 1,617 spots in the same period. From December to February, Mitt Romney ran a total of 5,249 spots. However, one of the more incredible campaigns was Ron Paul’s efforts. Ron Paul ran 10,525 radio spots from December to April and ended up with 42 delegates. From December to January, Rudy Giuliani ran a total of 1,056.

* In December, Ron Paul burst out of the gate with 4,066 ads. Mitt Romney had the second highest number of spots ran with 2,613, while Mike Huckabee ran 721. Rudy Giuliani aired 736 radio ads, while John McCain ran only 272 spots.

* In the month of January, Ron Paul ran two times as many radio spots with 4,385 as John McCain, who ran 2,128 ads. Mitt Romney ran 2,259. In that same month, Mike Huckabee dropped to 610 spots. Rudy Giuliani ran 320 commercials. On January 30th, after a poor showing in the Florida primary, he dropped out of the race. 

* In Februrary, Mitt Romney bottomed out at 377 spots, and suspended his campaign after Super Tuesday. Ron Paul ran 1,699 spots to John McCain’s 1,403. As Mike Huckabee ran out of money, he could only run 226 spots.

* In March, Mike Huckabee ran 60 spots, but dropped out of the race on March 4th and endorsed McCain. Then, as the presumptive candidate, McCain ran 174 spots. Ron Paul dipped to 5 spots in this month, but he wasn’t done.

* In April, John McCain ran 18 spots, while Ron Paul came back to run 370 units.



The Democratic race started out with 10 candidates, which included Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Dal LaMagna, Bill Richardson and Tom Vilsack. The field narrowed down to Obama and Clinton with the delegate count rising for both due to the Democratic formula of percentage for votes, rather than the winner-takes-all scheme for the Republicans.
* From December of last year, to the end of May 2008, Barack Obama ran 81,727 spots on the radio to Hillary Clinton’s 21,763 spots.  

* Hillary Clinton actually ran more radio commercials than Obama in the month of December 2007: Clinton 3,354 to Obama’s 1,615.

* One of the biggest months for Obama was February, when he ran 33,904 spots. Incidentally, this was the same month he soared in the polls. February was also Hillary Clinton’s biggest month with 5,244 spots.

* In March, Clinton dropped off to 2,860, while Obama pushed forward with 12, 973.

* In the final month of the campaign, Obama ran 5,437 spots in May to Clinton’s 1,940.

* And, of little note: the spots run the first three days of June: Hillary Clinton 38 to Barack Obama’s 31 commercials.


Media Monitors has been on top of the Republican and Democratic run for the White House with up-to-the-minute info data on the candidates and how they advertised. What happens now?

Joe McCallion, Executive VP of Media Monitors answered, “We now begin the second and final phase of this election year. Media Monitors will be tracking all political ads by all the candidates on Radio, TV, Cable TV and in Newspapers. There’s tons of information that can be mined from our database; from national candidates, to beltway political action committees, to those running for office in local and state elections.”

(sources: Media Monitors