Candidates Drop Big Dough on TV

Jun 2, 2008 2:48pm

ABC News’ Tahman Bradley Reports: The presidential hopefuls this primary campaign spent almost $200 million talking to Americans on television, while interest groups spent nearly $8 million, according to an impressive new study by TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG with analysis by the Wisconsin Advertising Project.

Unsurprisingly, the study finds that Democratic candidates — who have had a longer nomination battle than their Republican counterparts — spent more than GOP candidates on TV advertising. The Democrats combined to spend $136.9 million, while Republicans spent $57.5 million.

The biggest TV spenders: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the dueling Democrats who have slugged it out in every U.S. state (though they did not invest money on TV in every state).

With close to $75 million dished out for television ads, Sen. Obama, D-Ill., outspent the entire Republican presidential field by $18 million!

Inside the numbers is a telling story about how Obama used his fundraising edge to purchase advertising in states that Clinton virtually conceded. Overall, Obama got 58,501 more airings from stations across the country than Sen. Clinton, D-N.Y. Also, when Obama was amassing his now insurmountable delegate advantage from Feb. 5 to Feb. 19, he was outspending Mrs. Clinton by a sizable margin: 3 to 1 in the District of Columbia and Maryland and more than 4 to 1 in Virginia and Wisconsin. Add that to a 5 to 1 advantage in Maine and a 3 to 2 advantage in Nebraska. $459,000 was spent on ads in Louisiana and Hawaii during that February period – all of it by the Obama campaign.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lead all Republicans in TV spending, pouring $31.6 million into his nomination bid. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, spent $11 million on TV.

By far, The Service Employees International Union spent more than any other outside group this primary season. SEIU, which backs Obama, spent $3.1 million on TV ads. American Leadership Project and AFSCME, two pro-Clinton groups, finish second and third on the list. The well-funded liberal group, Moveon.org, spent half a million dollars on TV, which seems like a bit of a low number given the amount of attention attracted by their controversial ads. MoveOn does, however, benefit from a decent amount free media pick up. The group has endorsed Obama for president.

Read the full report HERE.

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