Republican candidates have been able to save the money they spend on advertising, because the job is being done so effectively by their super PACs, new research shows.
Spending between Nov 1-Jan. 25 is down across the board compared with the same period in the 2008 race even though the amount of ads aired is slightly up, the Wesleyan Media Project discovered.
And the amount of money coming in from the action committees is way up, accounting for more than half of the total amount paid to air ads, the project found.
"I can't remember a time when so many groups were so involved in general election advertising so early," said Erika Franklin Fowler a director of the Wesleyan Media Project. "An underappreciated fact about this year's contest is that outside groups are spending more money per ad than candidates, which makes examining the balance of actual ads voters are seeing very crucial when attempting to tease out their influence."
The total number of candidate-sponsored ads is down from more than 66,500 to fewer than 40,000, the project discovered. But those paid by interest groups has shot up from just 1,763 in 2008 to 30,442 in this campaign an increase of some 1,600 percent.
The cost of those outside ads, mainly coming from the so-called super PACs such as Restore Our Future which supports Mitt Romney and the pro-Newt Gingrich Winning Our Future, is also way up.
By this time in 2008 when John McCain won the nomination, spending on outside ads amounted to just $1.1 million This time round, the first presidential cycle following the Supreme Court¹s Citizens United decision which allowed super PACs to spend unlimited money, it stands at $15.2 million.
The amount of cash spent by candidates' campaigns is down from $48.7 million to $13.7 million, reported the project which is based at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
"The overall number of GOP presidential ads on the airwaves this election year is comparable with 2008, but who is paying for them so far has changed significantly," the project said in a press release.
The project, which campaigns for openness in campaign financing, says the main reason for the drop off in ads is because Romney, who was involved in both primary seasons, drastically cut the amount he spent in Iowa, the first state in the nation to cast its vote.
By this time in 2008, Romney had spent $28.3 million, nearly 60 percent of the total. This year he has spent just $7.3 million, which is still more than all the other candidates combined, but only just over one quarter of the amount he spent last time out.
The effect of those ads seem to be working in Florida at least, said Travis Ridout, another of the project's directors.
"One reason we've seen the Florida polls shift in Romney's favor over the past few days, when the national polls have not, is that his message has dominated the paid airwaves in the Sunshine State," Ridout said.
TAGS: superpacs; campaign; ads; Wesleyan
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