Republican Super PAC's Spending Big In 2012

The Republican affiliated Super PAC's and other outside conservative groups have big spending plans this election cycle, and Democratic aligned outside groups may have a hard time keeping up.

Outside groups like GOP aligned Crossroads GPS, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Americans For Prosperity, the group founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, are planning to spend roughly $1 billion this election cycle, according to a report from Politico.

It's a staggering, unprecedented number.

That almost certainly means these outside groups will spend more than the combined total of the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Not all of the money will be spent on the presidential race. American Crossroads, the Super Pac affiliated with Crossroads GPS, has focused the majority of their spending so far on Congressional races.

The Democratic groups will spend big too, but nowhere near as much.  Priorities USA - the pro-Obama Super Pac - hopes to raise $100 million,  though they appear to be having a difficult time reaching that goal.  Labor unions could spend up to $400 million.

Democratic affiliated Super PAC's have trailed Republican Super PAC's in spending so far this cycle, but some of that imbalance was inevitable since Republicans had an open presidential primary and Democrats did not.

More telling are the fundraising figures for groups affiliated with both parties. Democratic super PAC's have had a tough time staying on par with Republican Super PAC's, who are outraising Democrats by huge margins.

According to figures from the Sunlight Foundation, the top three Super PAC fundraisers this cycle are all Republican affiliated. The pro-Romney "Restore Our Future" reports raising $56.5 million. American Crossroads, the Super PAC arm of the Karl Rove group Crossroads GPS , has raised $29.9 million. The pro-Gingrich "Winning Our Future" has raised $23.9 million.

The fourth largest Super PAC fundraiser is a Democratic group. The pro-Obama Priorities USA reports raising $10.6 million so far this cycle.

Several other Democratically affiliated Super PAC's have raised significant mounts. The AFL-CIO Workers' Voices PAC reports raising $5.9 million, and another group, American Bridge 21st Century, has raised $5.8 million. But the figures trail behind their GOP counterparts.

Liberal donors, including George Soros, plan to donate up to $100 million to outside groups heading into November, according to a report from the New York Times. Even so, Democrats have a lot of ground to gain in order to close the fundraising gap with Republican groups in this area.