Did $12.5 Million Spent on Iowa Ads Pay Off?

How did candidates' $12.5 million in TV ads pay off in Iowa?

ByABC News
January 4, 2012, 9:47 AM

Jan. 4, 2012 — -- After being vastly outspent on television ads and only eight votes behind in the Iowa caucuses, Rick Santorum may have come out the winner over Mitt Romney in terms of financial investments.

With the Iowa caucuses for the Republican presidential candidate out of the way, candidates assess whether the toil and advertising dollars paid off ahead of New Hampshire's primary on Tuesday.

The candidates and their supporters spent $12.5 million on television ads alone, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group, or CMAG, not including spot cable advertisements. Only one-third of the $12.5 million was spent by the candidates. The remaining was spent by "super PACs," or political action committees. About $1.4 million was spent on ads in Iowa in the week leading up to Christmas alone, according to CMAG.

Spending was down in Iowa this cycle, nearly 85 percent from the last cycle, according to CMAG. Only the Republican party hosted a competitive caucus this year as opposed to in 2008 when Democratic and Republican candidates were vying for nominations.

Nevertheless, the investment to sway the small number of caucus voters has been sizeable. About $102.20 was invested per caucus goer, based on the 122,255 people who voted yesterday.

The total expenditures divided on just 46 ads came out to $271,739 per ad. That is more than five times the median household income in the state of Iowa, which is $48,065 according to the 2010 Census.

According to the Des Moines Register, Rick Perry spent the most on television ads in December alone: $2.86 million. A super PAC for Perry also spent $1.33 million in advertisements in December.

A super PAC for Mitt Romney spent $2.85 million followed by Ron Paul's TV ads which cost about $1.37 million, the Register reported. Paul placed third in Iowa.

The Register did not publish data for Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann, who finished dead last.

Newt Gingrich, who placed fourth, spent some of the least money at $476,000 on television advertising in December. Also last month, Gingrich's campaign spent $1 million three ad buys, two of which were $250,000 and the third cost a whopping $500,000.