Americans, especially those living in battleground states, probably won’t be inundated with presidential campaign advertising for several months, but that doesn’t mean 2016 White House hopefuls have been off the air. On the contrary, NBC News reports today on the ad spending thus far, and some of the details are amazing.
As the year comes to a close, ad spending so far in the 2016 election has topped $111 million, and a third of that amount has come from Jeb Bush and his allies, according to ad-tracking data from SMG Delta.By comparison, $35 million had been spent on TV and radio ads at this same point in time in the 2012 presidential race – with Mitt Romney and his allies (at $8.5 million) and pro-Obama forces (at $7.4 million) being the biggest spenders by the end of 2011.But in this current election cycle, Jeb Bush’s Super PAC, Right to Rise, is the No. 1 spender, having aired $37 million in TV ads, while the campaign has chipped in an additional $1 million.
Let that sink in for a moment. At this point in the last cycle, every presidential candidate and his or her allies combined for $35 million in ad spending, while Jeb Bush and his allies have already spent $37 million. (Even adjusted for inflation, Team Jeb outpaces the 2011 totals.)
That would be extraordinary under any circumstances, but the fact that the former governor and his allies have made such a sizable investment, and still find Bush struggling badly in state and national polling, suggests the $37 million was not well spent.
On the other end of the spectrum, Donald Trump has spent just $217,000, and he’s beating Jeb by about 30 points.
I put together the above chart to help illustrate the data. Note that orange shows spending from “independent,” outside groups, such as super PACs, while purple shows ad buys placed by the campaigns themselves.