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2016 Campaigns Will Spend $4.4 Billion On TV Ads, But Why?

From NPR:

The 2016 election is already providing a lot of eye-popping statistics about the ballooning spending candidates will do in the 2016 election. Among them:

  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's superPAC has already raised more — in the first half of a non-election year — than Obama's main superPAC did in all of the 2012 cycle.

  • The latest big TV ad buy in the 2016 presidential election — on Ohio Gov. John Kasich's behalf, totaling $375,000 — is worth more than seven times the annual median U.S. household income.

  • There have already been seven times more political ads in the 2016 election than at this point in the 2012 election, according to Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president at Kantar's Campaign Media and Analysis Group.

Or just try to digest the aggregate numbers. For instance, political TV ad spending will top $4.4 billion for federal races this year, up from $3.8 billion in 2012, Wilner estimated.

Yet TV ads seem to have only small effects on how Americans vote. So why do campaigns spend such huge chunks of their budgets on television spots? It's the need for name recognition, at first. Later on, fear, habit and the hunger for the small sliver of votes at play also drive the huge spending.

Read the rest at NPR.

Posted on August 13, 2015.