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Political ad spending tops $6 billion in 2012 November 23, 2012

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Political ad spending is through the roof yet again, as estimates place ad spending in the 2012 election – including congressional and presidential races – around $6 billion. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out, the presidential election accounted for $1 billion of that total, or about $42 per voter.

Perhaps the worst news for some critics is that so much of that spending came from special interest groups. Outside parties representing dirty energy sources especially spent more than $270 million on TV ads. More than 59,600 spots ran on oil, gas, and coal. As many of these groups backed Republicans, their bets essentially lost. As a sign of things to come, though, many Americans are clearly frightened.

Are we out of the woods? Has political ad spending hit a ceiling? According to most experts, the answer is no. Television stations have the power to charge whatever they want to outside groups, and they made a killing doing so. If there’s money to be spent – which special interest groups have communicated there is – then it’s clear that campaigns in the future will continue to target swing states and perhaps spend on others that they might have ignored in the past.

For more on ad spending in the 2012 election, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Is there anything wrong with campaigns and outside interest groups spending so much on advertising?

2.  Does advertising translate into support? Why, or why not?

3.  Should spending be curtailed for 2016?

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